I’ve seen a lot of new streamers who are using an absolutely horrible or obnoxious stream overlay. There are streamers out there that paid for these busy, cluttered disasters. In some cases, I’ve seen them not using anything at all on just a black background. It’s enough to make a dinosaur cry.
I had enough:
I went ahead and made a very customizable stream overlay template for someone streaming either retro games or if they only need a cam overlay that’s on par with some of the best streamers out there and great for anyone following along with my How to Stream on Twitch and Succeed series.
Free to use Stream Overlay Template
The file itself is a gIMP project file. If you’re unfamiliar with gIMP, it’s a full image manipulation suite available for GNU/Linux, OS X and Windows. Think of it as free photoshop. It’s very powerful and has a very robust set of tools and features that I will not be going into.
There are plenty of tutorials for that kind of stuff elsewhere.
This guide is going to assume you are using Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), which is also free. If you are using XSplit or some other software I’d imagine it will work similarly as we aren’t going to be doing anything too crazy.
You can go ahead and grab the download: Free Overlay
Opening the Files
Within the zip you’ll find two files, Customizable Template.xcf and Customizable Template Cam Only.xcf.
If you are streaming retro games, then you’re going to want to use Customizable Template.xcf. It’s designed with a window that has a 4:3 aspect ratio on it.
Let’s get completely sidetracked
If you’ve only played SNES via emulator, you might have had “square pixels” enabled. I mean, that makes sense, right? Pixels are square.
Your game screen isn’t going to line up correctly with this stream overlay. That’s because the original SNES hardware would stretch it’s content to fit onto the 4:3 television screens. Now, you might think that square pixels are how the game was intended to be played. I mean, the artist’s involved created sprites with square pixels, right? Definitely. But they were also aware that it would be stretched, with no one ever seeing their deformed square pixel art.
Back to the show
The Cam Only template is more suited for people streaming fullscreen or widescreen games and needs only their face cam on top of everything. Use this when you want to stream Overwatch or Dark Souls.
Go ahead and open the Customizable Template.xcf.
Retro Game Overlay
The default layout is a rounded border around the game and cam with a peach color and a blue transparency over a wood grain texture.
I purposefully made the combination obnoxious so you’d be motivated to play with all the customization options.
We’ll get to the super customizable bits in a second, but you really only need to change “STREAMERNAME” right out of the gate.
From the gIMP toolbox (if it’s not visible, press Ctrl+B) select the Text Tool (or press T).
Now select the middle of the STREAMERNAME text and change it to your own channel name. Press Esc to get out of the text tool.
Now to save it:
If you select File -> Save you will only save the .xcf file that can only be read by gIMP. That’s fine. I suggest doing that if you’ve made a lot of customization you like, but what we really need to do is export the file into a format we can use.
A file format that will preserve the transparent (checkerboard) areas of our file.
Go ahead and hit File->Export As and change the file to something like, “retro overlay.png”.
The .png file type will preserve the transparency so we’ll be able to see the game and cam beneath the overlay.
Full-Screen Game Cam Only
If you intend to ever stream fullscreen games or widescreen games you can open up this file and perform the same steps to get your cam overlay only.
However, if you stream with a 16:9 aspect ratio cam, you’ll have to make a change, which will go over in the customization section.
How to use it in OBS
Now that you’ve got a .png to use we can add the source to a scene in OBS.
When you first open OBS your Scenes appear on the left, you can use this area to switch between different layouts and overlays (Stream starting Soon! AFK! Cam Only! Waiting for Matchmaking! New PB Celebration Gifs!).
I keep a scene for 4:3 and one for fullscreen games, so click the plus (+) sign beneath scenes to add a new one. On the right, in the source list, you’ll click the plus (+) there as well and select “Image”.
Name the image “4:3 Overlay”, or something else as recognizable, in case you need it in other scenes. Make sure “Make Source Visible” is selected and click OK.
In the box that pops up, you’ll be able to click Browse and find your .png overlay.
After selecting it, go ahead and click OK.
The file itself was made for 1280×720, so you may need to resize it to fit your needs by grabbing the red box handles in the top preview pane of OBS. Once it covers the full area, you need to add your game source and cam source.
You’ll add them beneath the 4:3 overlay source as shown:
Move and resize their screens until they fit where they are supposed to.
Looks great right? Alright, now let’s see what else we can do with this template.
This is where this gets kind of fun and I’m a bit proud of the template. Take a peek at the Layers window of gIMP.
A quick overview of the useful bits:
Click the little eye next to a layer to make that layer hidden, or click here to make the layer visible again.
Click the plus (+) next to a layer to open up the Layer Group and see more Layers underneath.
Streamername: The text layer where you change the name of your stream. It’s found beneath the cam on the actual overlay.
Make 1 Visible: This is a Layer Group, or a folder of layers. Open it up and see what’s inside.
- 4:3 cam: This layer group should be visible if you have your camera set to a lower resolution or have it cropped for the more square-ish ratio. It contains two layer groups and another layer inside.
- Effects: This layer group contains a couple effects for your stream, Line Border or Drop Shadow.
- Line Border: This is visible by default, if you don’t want a line border around your camera and game screen then hide it. It has a layer for the black outline around the boxes as well as a layer for the color of the box. I’ll explain how to change colors in the Color Overlay section below.
- Drop Shadow: If you would prefer a drop shadow behind your cam and your game window, make this active.
- Color Overlay: The big one! This makes use of a layer mask to make color changes really easy. Make sure this layer is active by clicking it in the layer panel. Then select the paint bucket tool from the toolbox (or press Shift+B). If you click the color box at the bottom of the toolbox, you can select whatever color you like. Afterward, click anywhere on the image to fill the Color Overlay layer with the color of your choice! I absolutely recommend a site like Paletton for choosing a color scheme. Especially if you are as bad at it as I am.
- Textures: The textures group has 3 textures by default, but if you are handy with masking and find another texture online you can create a layer here yourself. Keep only one of these visible and hide the others.
- 16:9 cam: This has the same folder structure as 4:3, but you’ll want to make it visible if you use a widescreen cam and then hide the 4:3 layer group by clicking its eye.
Such features. Much wow.
Make use of Streamlabs
Now that you’ve got your stream overlay in OBS there’s plenty of negative space to add things like follower counters, donation bars, stream activity, text boxes, chat, etc. I recommend Streamlabs for all of that myself. Again, because it’s free and we stream and are likely poor, Kappa.
And speaking of free, I get a small kickback if you’d like to give Twitch Prime a free try. If you’ve already got Twitch Prime linked to your Amazon Prime account… well… hmmm… what about trying an Amazon Music Unlimited free trial?
Hopefully, all of this gets you set up with a relatively easy to use but professional looking stream overlay right out the gate. You don’t have to credit me on stream if you use it, but if you’d like to throw a link to either floydasaur.us or twitch.tv/Floydasaurus in your info pane thanking for the file, go right ahead!
At the very least, let me know if you use it down in the comments below and drop a link to your stream!