What are Stream Overlays?

Stream overlays are essential graphics that overlay your stream footage, enhancing its visual appeal and facilitating viewer interaction on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and Kick. They encompass various elements such as scenes, webcam frames, chat boxes, stream alerts, and informational panels. Understanding the different types of overlays can help you craft a professional and engaging stream:

  1. Scenes: Think of scenes like chapters of your live stream. Stream Starting, Stream Ending, Intermission, Just Chatting and Offline. Typically these are full screen designs that display information relevant to that scene. For example, a Starting Soon scene might include a count-down timer. You will likely spend most of your time on the In-Game scene where you will combine a few of the below elements.
  2. Webcam Frame: These overlays are usually placed around your webcam video feed. It’s one of the simplest ways to add your own personality and branding to your stream.
  3. Chat Box Overlays: Displaying live chat messages in real-time, these overlays foster direct interaction between you and your audience.
  4. Stream Alerts: These pop-up overlays notify you of significant events like new followers, donations, and subscribers.
  5. Profile Panels: Used for presenting additional information such as social media links, schedules, and FAQs, panels provide a comprehensive overview for your audience.

What overlays should you use on your stream?

It’s really up to you and your preferences. It’s your show! Some advice we can offer is to choose overlays that align with your branding and personal style, ensuring consistency and professionalism throughout your stream. Aim for clean and visually appealing designs that are easy for viewers to interact with and understand.

Regularly updating your overlays can also help keep your stream fresh and engaging. By selecting overlays thoughtfully, you can create an immersive viewing experience that captivates your audience and sets your stream apart.

How do I add overlays to my stream?

Integrating overlays seamlessly into your stream is typically done using popular streaming software like OBS Studio, Streamlabs Desktop, or StreamElements. almost all of our stream overlays and packages include quick-installation methods to get you looking fresh in just a few minutes.

How do I make a stream overlay?

  1. Choose your software: For beginners we recommend using Figma (free software). For more advanced users who want use or learn animation, After Effects (free trial) is the industry standard.
  2. Set Up Your Canvas: Open your chosen overlay design software and create a new document with the dimensions suitable for your stream resolution. Twitch recommends a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels for overlays. YouTube can go much larger, but we recommend going no higher than 3840×2160 pixels (4k). For everything else, I suggest looking at our Panel Sizes & Graphics guide.
  3. Design Your Elements: Start designing each overlay element according to your plan. Use layers to organize your design and make it easier to edit later. Incorporate your branding elements such as logos, colors, and fonts to maintain consistency with your stream’s theme.
  4. Customize Graphics: Customize your graphics by adding textures, patterns, or gradients to enhance visual appeal. Experiment with different effects and filters to make your overlay stand out.
  5. Arrange Elements: Arrange your overlay elements within the canvas, considering the composition and balance of the design. Pay attention to spacing and alignment to ensure a polished look.
  6. Incorporate Animation (Optional): If desired, you can add animation to your overlay elements using animation software (such as Adobe After Effects). Keep animations subtle and non-distracting to avoid overwhelming your viewers.
  7. Test Your Overlay: Once your overlay design is complete, test it within your streaming software (e.g., OBS Studio, Streamlabs Desktop) to ensure it looks good and functions properly during your stream. Make any necessary adjustments to the layout, size, or visibility of your overlay elements.
  8. Save and Export: Save your overlay design file in a format that preserves layers and transparency. Export individual overlay elements as PNG (non-animated) files with transparent backgrounds for easy integration into your streaming software. If your design has animation, we recommend exporting as MOV (with alpha), and using our  MOV to WebM converter for a smaller file size.
  9. Integrate Into Streaming Software: Open your streaming software and add the exported overlay elements as sources. Arrange them within your streaming scene and test them to ensure they appear correctly and are positioned as desired.
  10. Finalize and Refine: Once your overlay is integrated into your streaming software, take some time to refine and finalize any remaining details. Make any necessary adjustments to optimize the appearance and functionality of your overlay during your streams.