What makes for a good streaming overlay? With streaming as a medium still in its infancy, the answer is rapidly-evolving and highly-subjective. Once upon a time, overlays weren’t a thing. Then we moved into a phase where streamers filled the screen with design elements and widgets. These days, the new wave is a larger camera view within your gameplay scene so that viewers get a better view of the streamer.
Furthermore, overlays aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As one example, I greatly prefer the look of streams that put the camera overtop of full-width gameplay. However, that particular presentation style doesn’t work for speed-runners who display their time splits on the side or for retro games that are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Based on my experiences of watching Twitch and tinkering with my own overlay, here are aspects of overlay design that I like. There are links to every streamer I reference in case you’re interested in checking them out. I’m by no means an expert on overlay design. Just using this post to share design elements that I appreciate!
During the peak of my Among Us frenzy, my wife and I stumbled on a jacksepticeye video of him and a number of other top gaming content creators playing the game together. During the voting phase, the camera punched inward to focus on Jack, making for a better viewing experience in that moment. Other streamers do this with their VODs as well, such as Pokimane, Disguised Toast, Ninja, and more.
The thing is, this zoom effect is done after the fact in a video editor. But could an entrepreneurial streamer implement that same effect in a live environment?
I have implemented it on my stream and I love having for the sake of having an “aside” with viewers without taking them completely out of the game. Here is how you can implement this zoom-in during gameplay!
Colour gradients are a great way of adding design elements that fade into different colours. Until recently, this effect was only possible within Photoshop or other external photo-editing apps. As a streamer, you’d have to bounce between your streaming software and your photo editor to create and implement gradients in the right size.
Now there’s an easier way to create simple gradients within OBS without having to use an external photo app. Let me show you how!
Making improvements to your stream doesn’t always have to involve spending money. If anything, the best improvements one can make don’t involve money at all. But for streamers on a budget, knowing where to make adjustments without breaking the bank can truly take you farther than spending money on the latest equipment.
Here are a few thought-starters for ways you can improve your stream without spending big bucks on new equipment!
In a world where 16:9 is the norm, retro games created with the old 4:3 aspect ratio can be a pain to stream. Having to fit a square gameplay feed into a rectangle overlay leads to a lot of empty space, forcing streamers to create overlays specific to retro gaming.
One potential way to fill the extra space is to mirror the gameplay and blur the background. This effect is most commonly used when displaying vertically-shot videos on a widescreen display. Here’s how to implement this look on your stream!
Among Us is the hot game right now, particularly in the world of Twitch. Most of its best parts involve players debating whodunnit. As a viewer, it can be difficult to know who is talking, since you usually only see the streamer.
While browsing Pokimane‘s stream, I noticed that she had a particular solution to this problem. How did she get her Discord voice chat bubbles to appear on screen? Follow this guide and you can have this feature on your stream too!
“Kelsey’s view of herself is…very large.”
I made this observation as my wife was watching KelseyDangerous stream Animal Crossing: New Horizons (she’s a great streamer by the way and you should check out her show!). Unlike the thumbnail-sized streamer views I’ve seen in the past when the streamer has overlaid themselves over-top of their gameplay, Kelsey’s view was a large square that covered up a sizable portion of the screen. It was also cropped in such a way where you could see more than just her face. In this view, you could everything from the torso up.
As I’ve continued to explore Twitch in recent months, it’s become apparent to me that Kelsey’s overlay strategy is not a one-off. Streamers of all sorts are making the view of themselves larger, even if that means you see less of the gameplay underneath.