Installing a stream overlay on OBS

Streaming is about more than sitting in front of a screen recording yourself talking to an audience, your stream or channel also needs to look good.

In order to become a good streamer, you should familiarise yourself with all the tools you need and to use all the right hardware and software for providing a good streaming experience for your followers to make the process a seamless one for you as the streamer.

Part of being a good streamer is ensuring that your stream looks good and appealing to viewers and a good way of doing this is by personalising your content to make it look good. One way that streamers can personalise their streams is to apply stream overlays.

What are stream overlays?

Stream overlays are a good way to enhance the appearance of your stream. It is a visual background or representation that contains different graphics such as frames, texts, imagery, icons, transitions, and many others that are all placed on the video stream.

Overlays can represent a certain style or theme for the channel and make a stream attractive to viewers whilst creating an interactive and engaging experience throughout the stream.

Aspects like the channel’s name, animations, texts, and colour use are all incorporated into the stream overlay, giving the channel and stream its own unique personality and style.

Installing a stream overlay on OBS

In order to start streaming on any online streaming platform such as Twitch, you need to be using the correct streaming software for your broadcast.

The Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is free and open source software that is commonly used by Twitch and YouTube streamers, amongst others, for live streaming and recording.

If you use OBS as your streaming software, you have to know how you can add a stream overlay to the software to make your stream look good.

There are different types of stream overlays that you can apply to your stream and using all types can make your stream that much more interesting to look at and enjoy.

There are certain steps that you can follow to add your stream overlay onto OBS. They are as follows:

Steps What to do
Step 1
  • Open OBS
  • The software needs to be installed and ready for your use
Step 2
  • Go to “Scenes” to manage multiple scenes that will appear on your stream
  • Left-click “OK” when the pop-up menu appears after selecting scenes
Step 3
  • Choose your image source by looking for the “Source” option
  • Click on “Source”
  • Click on the browse button and select “Image”
  • OBS will place a Source of layers on your PC that will show up when you set up Overlays
Step 4
  • You then need to name, edit, and manage your stream overlay
  • Click “Browse” and locate the file you that will use as an overlay
  • Right-click to size the image correctly
Step 5
  • Test your overlay settings on the preview window
  • Give your overlay a name
  • Perform a test Twitch stream to see how the overlays look

The Webcam overlay

As a streamer, your audience will be looking at you most of the time throughout your stream. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a good webcam overlay so that the stream does not look boring with just you in it.

Installing a stream overlay on OBS
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Webcam overlays appear wherever your camera is placed and gets the most attention to you and whatever it is you are doing during a stream, whether you are playing a game or speaking.

The Gameplay, AFK, and main overlays

Gameplay and main overlays are good to incorporate in order to pick up on every new scene that happens in your channel. Every time a new scene appears on the screen, the Gameplay and main overlays will help pick up the scene and change accordingly.

An AFK stream overlay, on the other hand, can come into play when you need to take a break or move away from the screen for a short while, but you want to make sure that your viewers do not leave the stream and that they stay on.

Stream overlays for your Alert Box

Your Alert Box is another component of your stream that needs to have a stream overlay. Alerts are important to acknowledge and having an overlay for it can be a fun way to have your alerts show up.

If you gain a new subscriber, a fun and interesting way to welcome them to your channel is to have a custom Twitch overlay for when they join or subscribe to your channel. This overlay will make your new addition to your Twitch family feel welcomed by you.