How to Make a Twitch Overlay Using Gimp

Streaming can be both a fun experience and a daunting one. Daunting because of the various technical skills you might need. One of the staples of any good twitch channel is a unique overlay. You might think that you need to hire a designer or need photoshop and a lot of skills to make one yourself. But I am here to prove you wrong!

Making a twitch overlay using the free software Gimp is very easy. You just need to position a few elements and text with transparent areas for your stream and webcam. Then you can export it as a PNG and start streaming with it decorating your streams.

That’s the short of it. In this article, I will be explaining all the different steps you will need to follow, what you need to keep in consideration, and how to set it all up. I can assure you; it is a lot easier than you think it is. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

How to Make A Twitch Overlay in Gimp?

You might think that there is a high skill requirement to make and set up an overlay on twitch. But there really is not. You can make a really good and unique overlay yourself with a minimal amount of skill and a free software that is really easy to use.

What You Need

First of all, you will not be using any expensive graphic designing software such as photoshop. Rather you will be using an alternative called Gimp. Gimp is a free and open-source image manipulation software. It is really easy to use and very beginner-friendly. So, you won’t have any trouble making your overlay with this.

You will need the software of course, and you will need an image if you do not want to make a background yourself. Making a background yourself might require a bit more editing and designing skill, and just using flat colors is not ideal.

It is recommended that you go with a royalty-free image as that will both decrease the cost and cancel out the chances of any copyright issues. It is better to go with abstract artworks than scenic images, but depending on your stream you can always make a choice.

What You Will Be Making

You will not be making many different complicated designs. What you will be making here is a PNG file that will just be used for cosmetic purposes on your stream. A PNG file with transparent sections for your gameplay or whatever you will be streaming and your webcam view is all you will need.

Your file will have a border, sections where you have some descriptions or social media details written, and transparent sections. After that, you will be using that with OBS to use an overlay on your stream. So, with all that out of the way, let’s get into making the actual file.

Making the Base Overlay

Step 1: Make a Canvas

First, you will need to create a new canvas. You can use the keyboard command “Ctrl+N” to do this. You should create a canvas the same size as your stream. These days most people stream at 1080p, so your canvas size should be 1920 by 1080. But, if you have a different sized stream, make sure to follow that size.

Step 2: Color Your Current Layer

Next, you need to copy the layer and make it another color. Which color you pick here does not matter as we will be using this to crop out the section for your stream. Resize it as you would like, keep the necessary sections and borders as you would like.

Step 3: Make the Webcam Box

Then create another layer, this will be the section for your webcam. Resize it again to your preference, similar to how we did in the last step. Now, let us move on to the image you will be using as a background. I recommend a source such as Pixabay to look for a good royalty-free image that works with your channel’s theme.

Step 3: Make Your Background

Now you need to put the image in a new layer and put that layer between the previous two layers. Now select the first section layer and right-click and select the option “Alpha to section”. Now select the image layer and press “Delete”; this will subtract that section from the image and create a transparent area.

Step 4: Add Graphics to Webcam Box

After that, you will have to do the same thing for the webcam section. Again, select the layer and move it to alpha. And then delete that section from the background image layer. Now if you disable the section layers and the original background canvas, you will see that you have a background with transparent sections for both your webcam view and stream.

This is your base file. It has a background and transparent sections for your stream and webcam. You can very well use this and it will most definitely be an improvement over streaming without an overlay. But the ideal situation is adding decorations over this. Let’s discuss that.

Adding Decorations to Your Overlay

If you have made the base overlay file then you have a png with two transparent sections and a border. You will also have empty sections where you can put quite a few details. If you have made a file with just a bit of border then you will not have space to put your logo, social details, etc. It’s a good idea to add the extra details in their separate layers.

So, in the empty spaces, you can put a channel logo if you have one. Or you can put a slogan or something to make it more engaging for your viewers. You can also put your social media details such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook links on there. It is recommended to have the logos of the social media sites next to the logo.

Some people even leave a space blank so they have somewhere to put the chat widget. Finally, you can tidy it all up by adding effects to the logos and text. Maybe you can even add borders and lines to accentuate everything. It’s all up to you, just be aware that you should not make it too cluttered and keep things simple.

Now all you need to do is disable any background layers so the transparent sections stay transparent and export the file. Make sure of one thing; export the file as a PNG. A PNG file will have the transparent sections as transparent. Other formats will not so do not make this mistake.

How to Set Up A Twitch Overlay?

Now let’s discuss a bit about how you will set up the overlay and use it on twitch. This part is fairly simple too.

Go into OBS, select source, and select image. Now pick the image that you just created and put that.

Your overlay is set up. Just make sure that your stream sections align with the transparent sections properly and you will be good to go.


We discussed how you can make your twitch overlay using gimp. It is very easy to use this free software to make an overlay. There is not much skill required. You can even advance from here by tinkering with Gimp as it is very easy to use. Keep a theme in mind and your design will be great.

I hope this detailed guide on how to make a Twitch overlay using Gimp helped you in improving your streams. Hopefully, this article answered all of your technical questions and you now have a clear idea on making overlays. Thanks for reading till the end, and happy streaming!