An Overview of Overlays

First impressions matter, especially on Twitch. Audio and Graphics are the first things users notice when tuning into your stream.

A basic camera stream or just your desktop might not be enough to draw and lock in viewers. Your stream should also let viewers know what they’re watching, and where the players are at in the game.

Identifying Needs

Before purchasing equipment for your setup, it’s important to identify your needs and desires (or the problem you’re trying to solve).

Desired Scenes

If you watch Card Kingdom’s Stream, they have scenes for Casters, Match, Top 8, Meta Game, and Top 16. SCG has the same plus Side Boarding, Deck Lists, Player Cams, and a whole slew of things.

When creating overlays, first identify the shots and scenes you want. I’m just going to cover the match scene and overlay. You may want:

  1. Match
  2. Casters
  3. Sideboarding
  4. Top 8
  5. Metagame Breakdown
  6. “We’ll be right back” screen

Software

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator seem to be the standard. I like using Affinity Photo as a cheaper alternative. Using a Vector Graphics program will have the benefit of scaling to higher resolutions as time passes. A bitmap editor perfectly fine and is what I’ll be using.

Almost any program will work. One with transparency and PNG support will make things the easiest. OBS supports multiple images per scene, so creating parts of the scene in different images is possible.

Building the Scene

There are multiple ways to build a scene. The easiest way is to create a canvas the size of your stream. In most cases, this will be 1920x1080.

Match

I recommend capturing a screenshot of your match area, then building the scene around the screenshot. Make sure to create new layers for each item.

Hide the layer with the screenshot of your match area. Go to File > Export as PNG.

Then save the image.

Bringing it to OBS

In OBS, add a new scene for Match. In the Sources, add your camera. Resize the camera. Then add the overlay.

Add new text sources, and customize to your heart’s content. To make it easier to update later on (with software or text files), I recommend making your text sources read from a file.

Take it Further!

I hope this gives you an idea of how to pimp your stream! You can use the same steps and ideas to create more scenes. In a later post, we’ll go deeper into OBS and how to utilize text files and browser sources for more advanced scenes.

A Browser Source can also be used for overlays or advanced animations. As we work on our tools, we’ll be sure to share the knowledge we gain.

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