If you’re looking for a way to tell your viewers who you are (and what you want them to do next), consider a Twitch overlay.
A custom Twitch overlay is a graphic or a quick sentence, and it can sit on top of your home page, your livestream page, or both.
If you’re wondering how to make a Twitch overlay, you’ve come to the right place. To do it, you will:
- Create your graphic. Free tools like Canva and GIMP make this easy.
- Follow Twitch overlay best practices. Make a mistake, and you might repel subscribers rather than enticing them to join you.
- Place the overlay with OBS. Start by creating a scene, and then add your graphic on the top.
We’ll walk you through all of these steps, so you’ll know how to make a Twitch overlay like a professional.
Choose Your Overlay’s Look and Feel
By creating a Twitch overlay, you’re giving up a prime piece of real estate. The item you create will be fixed, and it won’t change.
Gamers use overlays to:
- Share social tags. Reddit names, Twitter icons, and gamer tags all appear on overlays.
- Prompt subscriptions. A plea for followers, combined with a finger that points to the right button, is a common overlay.
- Thank visitors. Overlays on offline pages can express gratitude, even when you’re not there in person.
- Tighten branding. Gamers active on multiple platforms use logos, colors, and other graphics to tie everything together. An overlay makes that easy.
These a few of our favorite Twitch overlay tools:
- Canva: Low on cash? Canva is a free Twitch overlay (and general graphics) program. The site has built-in templates you can use to make Twitch banners, but you can use the graphics interface to create an overlay.
- Wix: If you’re hoping to pop a logo in your overlay, but you don’t have one designed quite yet, consider the Wix logo maker tool. Answer a few questions about what you do and what you like, and the tool will spit out a logo. There is a small fee for this service. You’ll need to use another program listed here to pop your graphic into an overlay.
- GIMP: This free design tool works on both Macintosh and Windows, but you will have to download it to make it work. It’s made for professionals, so there is a learning curve involved.
- Adobe: If you have design experience and you want a lot of power, Adobe is the tool of choice. The price varies, depending on the product features you need. But expect to pay a premium for this premium tool.
Every one of these tools works a little differently. Keyboard shortcuts you use on one don’t work on another, and features used in one aren’t available in another. But most come with online tutorials and readily available help desk features. If you get stuck, there’s always someone available who can help.
4 Tips to Follow as You Create Your Twitch Overlay
Most of the tools we’ve linked to begin with a blank canvas. Don’t be intimidated. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a designer, you can create amazing Twitch overlays. But there are a few things to keep in mind as you work.
Experienced designers follow these guidelines:
- Keep the background transparent. Your overlay will sit on top of your Twitch feed. You want your graphic to pop, but you don’t want to cover up all of the action. The background of any Twitch overlay should be set to transparent.
- Find the right spot. Your graphic is the one item in your overlay that won’t be transparent. And you won’t want to place it anywhere it will cover up something critical. If you always have your face cam in the lower left corner, for example, you won’t want your graphic to sit there. Think hard about the dead zone in your stream, and put your message there.
- Size it properly. When you start a custom design, programs will ask you how big the screen will be. Yours should be 1920 (w) by 1080 (h).
- Take your time. Experiment with colors and textures. Make the font bigger and smaller. Play around until you have things just right.
How to Make a Twitch Overlay With OBS
You’ve created the perfect graphic within your design program. Now it’s time to put it to work. At this stage in the process, you’ll switch to OBS.
Save your graphic as a .PNG file, and make sure you know right where it is. Then, create a scene within OBS.
Think of scenes like settings. They describe the different ways your page will look. You might have one for:
- Active play.
- How-to videos.
- Offline moments.
Part of your scene setup involves determining what appears on the screen when visitors arrive. Add your image by:
- Choosing your scene. Again, most streamers have many. Pick the one you want to modify.
- Add an image. The quickest method is to right-click within the Sources box. You’ll see an option to add an image.
- Don’t tinker. Your image should fit on the full screen, and it should be 100% opaque already. Don’t touch a thing, and it should be in the space you specified and look perfect.
You’re done! Congratulations. Now get back to streaming!
Basic OBS Studio Setup. (August 2018). OBS Knowledge Base.
The Twitch/PC Streaming Guide: Add a Logo or an Overlay to Your Stream. (January 2016). Cnet.