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How To Make A Twitch Overlay: The Complete Guide

Are you someone who has only recently set foot on the Twitch streaming platform and is wondering how to beef up the visual appearance of your stream? We got you covered, as we are going to explore the topic of Twitch overlays, including how you can create your own custom overlays and add them to your channel. 

What Exactly Are Twitch Overlays And What Are They Used For?

They are essentially graphics that could be positioned on the video screen window while streaming. In a broader perspective of things, Twitch overlays could also be manifested as stream alerts, which we are going to expand on a bit later.

The main function of all these graphics is to visually enhance the look of your stream. Would you prefer looking at a plain video screen or watching a decorated stream with graphical elements and some additional info features that augment your viewing experience? The latter part is usually the right way to go.

Difference Between Twitch Stream Overlay And Twitch Panel 

The primary differentiating factor is their positioning on your channel. An overlay, irrespective of its type, is placed inside the video screen. Meanwhile, Twitch panels take up the space in the channel description section below the main screen. In addition, the latter tend to be used to visually support the presentation of more informative content, such as providing an ‘’About Me’’ overview and sharing your stream gear set-up.  

That being said, both features have one thing in common in that they enhance the user perception and experience interacting with your overall content. It is fair to say that you simply cannot get away with not having panels present on your channel and we explain step-by-step how to make Twitch panels in our dedicated article to this topic.    

Twitch Overlay Types

All the Twitch stream overlay types represented below could come in either a static or animated format.  

  • Webcam Overlay

This one is an overlay designed around the camera widget that is placed on the stream. Its purpose is to enhance that part and make it look more visually appealing than just a plain box

  • Stream Chat Overlay 

This is a Twitch stream overlay in the form of a box that you can include inside your screen to show the live chat feed of your stream

  • Ad Overlay 

The ad overlay is used if you need to show a banner or any kind of image to advertise your sponsor’s product on the screen  

  • Stream Alerts

Whenever you can get a new cheer, subscriber or donation, you could set up stream alerts to pop up on the video screen

Best Practices For Using Twitch Overlays

Twitch Overlay Dimensions 

To achieve the best quality and resolution for your Twitch overlay size needs, we recommend having 1920 x 1080 dimensions for every overlay, apart from the stream alerts. For the latter, choose 750 x 250 pixels. 

Below we have got some of the tips to ensure your overlays are up to a decent standard:

  • Make sure your overlay images have transparent background and refrain from going for explicitly bright colors – find a color pallette  balance for a pleasant visual design
  • Decide on the features that you would like to implement. Do you want a webcam and stream chat overlay + alerts for a complete custom Twitch overlay package or just a minimalist webcam overlay? 

The choice is yours, depending on what you would like to share with your community and how receptive you think they will be to a packed video screen or otherwise the one with a lot of free space

  • Games you play on stream should also be factored into the equation. Take a screenshot of the gameplay to check how much space there is available on the screen to harmlessly put the overlays, without hindering the viewer experience
  • Set an opacity of your overlay bars to around 75% so the game you are playing is slightly more visible through them for a more immersive effect
  • Create a consistent look with matching colors and theme if you only play a specific game so that the custom Twitch overlays complement the game well and make it more dynamic to watch

How To Add A Twitch Overlay To Your Channel In OBS

The first important aspect of adding any overlay to your channel is that the whole process is not done within Twitch itself. You will need to add overlays directly inside a broadcast software that you are using. There are a variety of these but we are going to use OBS Studio as an example on how to add an overlay.

  1. Create or select a Scene that you would like to add your overlay to inside OBS. For instance, a Webcam overlay.
  1. Right-click on the Sources box so that an options menu appears. Choose Add, then find an Image option on the list and select it.
  1. In the next window that pops up, choose a Create new option. After that, you will be able to name your overlay in the provided field within the window at your discretion.
  1. Once you have done the above, hit the Browse button on the next screen to select an overlay file from your computer that you would like to upload. After you have got the chosen overlay image showing on your screen within the current window, click OK.
  1. Now you could edit the image to your liking. Right-click on the overlay and select the Transform option. From there, you can modify it. Otherwise, you could simply left-click on any of the overlay circles and resize the image by dragging. Then, position it to the screen area you would like to see the overlay in. You are done!

How To Create A Custom Twitch Overlay 

One of the easiest ways to create your very own custom Twitch overlay is via Player.me.

The platform allows for making a Twitch overlay completely free and features many high-quality professionally designed overlay templates that you could easily customize using its built-in diy online editor. In addition to that, the application has a nice array of widgets, such as alerts and goals, the richness and broadcast enhancement capabilities of which make Player.me truly look like one of Twitch extensions. You can add these widgets while designing your custom overlay.  

Once you are happy with your design, you can then implement it in any broadcasting software that you are using. 

Player.me is only one of a number of Twitch overlay makers that are available out there. To explore a variety of both free and paid options, make sure to check out our Best Free And Paid Twitch Overlay Makers article. 

How To Make Twitch Overlays In Photoshop 

If you fancy making an overlay design from scratch with an advanced program, then Photoshop might come in handy. We will quickly walk you through the process of overlay creation there. 

  1. To start with, create a new image inside the program with the 1920 x 1080 dimensions.
  1. Take a screenshot of the game you are most frequently playing on stream and upload it as your canvas to better visualize and place the overlay elements. Make the image full size. 
  1. Make a new layer and give it an Upper Banner name. Next, choose the Rectangle Tool positioned on the left side of your menu. In the same place, click on the color selector and set your desired background color. Now, create a top banner by clicking and dragging across the top part of your uploaded layer.
  1. Right-click on the layer and choose Blending Options to make a border for the banner. Select Stroke from the menu, and set both its color and width to your liking. 
  1. Enable the move tool by pressing the letter V and drag the banner upwards to allow enough space to input text later. Make sure it does not block the game screen too much. Set the opacity to 75%. 
  1. To create a bottom banner, simply right-click the Upper Banner and choose Duplicate Layer. Name the new layer Bottom Banner. Using the Move Tool, move it anywhere you see fit at the bottom of your screen. Place the banner on both the bottom left and right sides.
  1. To add text, create a new layer. Utilize the Text Tool and make a new text box. Select the desired font and color in the Character menu afterwards. Position the text on a respective banner using the Move Tool. Next, select Duplicate Layer to create text for the other banners on your canvas and move them into positions. 
  1. Save this work as a Photoshop document first. Then, select the Eye icon to make the background transparent on both your game screenshot and other background layers so that only your overlay parts are left in place.
  1. Save the file in a .PNG format. This is how to create your own Twitch overlay in Photoshop. Now you could upload and use it on any of your broadcasting software.

Classy Overlay Template Sample

There is a plethora of cool overlay designs that you could choose from and get on the Internet, without resorting to creating them yourself, if you wish to.

Jungle series by OWN3D is one of the premium designs, with its unorthodox appearance. It is a part of the wider streamer package that you could purchase.  

There are many more to explore and we have done just that for you in our Best Twitch Overlays And Templates article. Check it out and get inspired.   

Final Remarks  

Overlays are important features that allow you to significantly enhance the perception of and engagement with your stream on the part of viewers. Now you are aware of the different Twitch overlay types, how to create and add them to your channel. Visualize your preferred style before designing your diy overlays so they fit nicely in the game you are playing.  

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