Stream overlays are meant to be personalized. Stop using the same tired OBS templates — and start customizing. Studio-grade design, powered by smart engineering.
The best YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch streaming overlays, period.
What are stream overlays?
Overlays are specialty graphics “added” to a livestream. Most commonly, they include images, animations, and widget tools. These are then superimposed—or layered over—your background video. That way, viewers see your overlays on “top” of your gameplay, camera or screen-share.
In the livestreaming world, the term “overlay” is used very broadly. Here are a few of the most common examples:
- Webcam frames and greenscreen bars
- Stream alerts and event lists
- Screens and social CTAs
- Goal widgets and chat boxes
Overlays are usually managed using streaming software, like OBS or Streamlabs. Most commonly, overlays take the form of transparent PNG or WEBM files.
Types of Twitch overlays
Stream overlays come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most common you’ll find:
These are special frames that border your camera. While commonly rectangles, you can change your camframe to different shapes—like circles or squares—using image masks.
Green screen bars
A must-have for green screen lovers. Unlike traditional webcam frames, these overlays only feature a bottom border. No more floating cameras or awkward profile cut-offs at the chest.
Alerts are notifications that play whenever a viewer interacts with your channel. They are commonly triggered by events like donations or hosts — plus new followers and subscribers.
Like alerts, these widgets display recent stream events. But while alerts disappear, event lists are permanent fixtures on your stream — as new events come in, it updates in real time.
These widgets track your progress towards channel goals. You can custom-create milestones and viewer rewards — then watch them update in real time as new events come in.
Get chat up on the big screen! These stream overlays display your chat on-screen, for everyone to see. A great way to boost viewer interaction. Customize its appearance and layout to fit your brand.
Grow your social audience! Animated CTAs—or “calls to action”—display your social handles on-stream. The perfect tool for gaining new followers on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and more.
Screens are alternate visual layouts for your broadcast. Some are optimized for IRL chat, while others are better for gaming. The most common examples are Intermission, BRB, and Offline.
Why should I use stream overlays?
Overlays are like visual powerups for your stream. Almost every streamer uses them, although to varying degrees. When done right, overlays help separate professional creators from amateurs.
In general, Twitch overlays serve four purposes:
- Aesthetics: Not only do they look great, overlays are the foundation of your visual brand.
- Informational: Overlays often display important info about your channel, community or content.
- Engagement: Some overlays can help revive a dead chat, while others may increase your concurrent viewers.
- Monetization: A good overlay strategy can boost viewer donations and channel subscriptions — often dramatically.
Professional overlays help you stand out from the millions of small streamers out there. For that reason alone, they’re an essential tool for any Twitch creator.
What is a stream package?
Stream packages are all-in-one overlay bundles. They contain all the essential broadcast graphics in a single download.
Packs are the most popular way to get stream overlays, for four reasons:
- Ease of use: You don’t have to download each individual overlay separately. Instead a single, neatly-organized pack has everything you need.
- United theme: Each pack is built around a particular art style. Your overlays have a cohesive design theme, instead of looking mismatched.
- Cheaper: Most stream packs cost around $30–40 USD. If you were to buy each element separately, the price could be double or triple that!
- Integrated: Stream package overlays are designed to work together. For example, your alerts and event list may combine for awesome effect!
Alongside all the core overlays, stream packages often include bonus goodies—like stinger transitions, Twitch panels, social profile art, and custom sound effects.
What themes can I choose?
Stream overlays come in hundreds—if not thousands—of art styles. There is a pack for every personality, brand, or content type. Try a few of our favorites below.
Can I customize my stream overlay templates?
Yes. We believe every stream overlay should be customizable. After all, what’s the point of using the same exact design as everyone else?
That’s why VBI graphics go beyond good looks alone—they’re built using smart engineering. Our technology allows you to personalize:
- Colors: custom-select color hues that match your brand look and style
- Text: craft your own alert messages, goal milestones, and screen titles
- Layouts: our screens are built modular — drag and drop to move elements
- Events: track the event types that are most important to your audience
Want to make advanced edits? Every stream package download includes original design files. That means you can jump into Photoshop to make all the tweaks and adjustments you want. Don’t have Photoshop? Try a free 7-day trial.
Installing your overlay stream setup
Want to add overlays to your broadcast? First you’ll need to download streaming software such as OBS Studio, Streamlabs Desktop, or StreamElements. Then you’ll need to add each overlay as a new Source. Generally, stream overlays fall into three different source categories:
Image sources are used for static (i.e. unanimated) stream overlays. Use this option if your webcam frame or screen is static. The most common image file types are PNG and JPG — however, PNGs are much more common since they support transparency.
Media sources are used for animated Twitch overlays, or video files. If your webcam or screen features moving effects, you’ll want to select this option. The most common video file types for streaming are WEBM, MP4, and GIF. Note: audio files also qualify as media sources.
Browser sources are overlays that are web-based (as in, not stored on your local PC). Instead of uploading a file, you’ll simply paste a URL into OBS. Browser sources are super popular for alerts and stream widgets—like event lists, goal overlays, chat boxes, and social CTAs.
Streamlabs Desktop setup
Sometimes you’ll need to manually import overlays—like your webcam or screens—to Streamlabs Desktop. From the Sources dock, add a new source. For static overlays select Image Source; for animated choose Media Source. Select Add a new source instead, name it and locate your overlay files on your PC. Make any settings adjustments and click Done. Now you can reposition and scale your stream overlay however you’d like.
Newer stream packages include a Streamlabs .overlay file. This allows you to instant import entire scene collections—including all your essential overlays. Locate the .overlay file in your download and save it to your PC. Return to Streamlabs Desktop, open your settings and select the Scene Collections tab. Select Import Overlay File and your scenes should begin loading.
Adding alerts or widgets, like event lists or goal overlays? First, find and open the Streamlabs One-Click Setups file in your download folder. This will open a web browser to Streamlabs — select a widget theme then apply any changes to your design settings. Once ready, save and copy your widget URL. Return to Streamlabs Desktop, add a new browser source and paste in your widget URL.
Do you use StreamElements and OBS.Live to manage your stream? If so, you’re likely using OBS Studio as your primary broadcast software. In that case, skip to the next section on OBS Studio — you’ll learn how to manually add overlay sources. You’ll also see how to instantly import entire scene collections in a few clicks. This is a quicker, easier way to set up your stream overlays, but it’s only available on newer stream packages.
(If you’re using StreamElements in combination with Streamlabs Desktop, jump to the section above on Streamlabs. There you’ll see how to add overlays both manually and automatically—using the scene collection importer.)
To set up alerts and widgets using StreamElements, first find your download folder. Inside, locate the StreamElements One-Click Setup URL file. This will open up StreamElements in your browser—and automatically import designs to your account. Click the Edit button, then personalize your alert settings. Once you’re ready, Save your changes then click the link icon to copy your Overlay URL. Return to OBS Studio, add a new browser source and paste in your unique URL.
OBS Studio setup
To manually add stream overlays for OBS, locate the Sources dock, then click the “+” button to create a new source. Choose Image Source for static graphics; choose Media Source for animated. Name it, then locate the overlay file on your PC. Make any settings changes, then click OK. Resize and reposition to your liking.
There’s an easier way to import overlays to OBS Studio. Once you’ve downloaded your files, locate the zip installer, called Drag Visuals_by_Impulse folder to C Drive. Right click and Extract Files to the C:\ folder on your hard drive. Now return to OBS Studio, click Scene Collection from the top menu, then select Import. In the next window, click Add, go to your C Drive and open the new Visuals_by_Impulse folder. Find the JSON file inside — once opened, your graphics should automatically import to OBS. (Note: This feature is only available on the latest VBI stream packages.)
To set up OBS alerts, we recommend first importing your files to either Streamlabs or StreamElements. This allows you to customize animations and fine-tune your alert settings. Jump to the sections above to see how! Once you’re done, return to OBS Studio. Add a new Browser Source containing your unique alerts URL.
Get stream overlays free
On a tight budget? Try out some of our free animated stream overlays. Unlike others, we don’t sacrifice quality in our free designs.
Some of our most popular free downloads include:
- Valor Package: A sharp, FPS design inspired by Valorant
- Luxury Package: An elegant, metallic look in black and gold
- Scrapbook Package: Arts-and-crafts meets stop-motion
As a bonus, free stream overlays are an excellent way to test your PC specs. Unsure if your hardware can broadcast and run OBS animations? Try out a free animated package first — that way you can test performance before you buy.
What makes a great overlay?
Ready to create?
Stop blending in, start getting noticed. Custom-create some stream overlays today.