Using Overlays

What are Overlays?

Overlays are styled text and images in your broadcast. You can access Overlays by clicking the in the upper right corner of the Main Window, or through the Overlays menu at the very top of your display. There are four types of Overlays:

Text Overlays

Almost any need for text on the screen can be addressed with Text Overlays. There are 5 ways you can display a Text Overlay:

  • Select New Text Overlay in the pull-down button in the Main Window
  • Select New Text Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Click the button at the bottom the Overlays Window,
  • Type N.

Copy text from anywhere on your Mac. Edit menu ➝ Paste as Overlay will allow you to paste in plain or styled text.

When you create a new Text Overlay, a Text Editing Sheet will appear. Start typing to enter text. You can hold the shift key and press the return key to insert a line break. You can change many properties including font, font size, text color, text opacity (how much you can “see through” the text), background color and background opacity. You can apply any of these properties to individual lines or chunks of the text by highlighting them, and selecting your styles.

Figure: Text Overlay Editor Sheet Annotated

You can apply a shadow or an outer glow effect to all of the text. To add emoji, click the 😀 smiling emoji button and select from the menu.

The background size and shape is set automatically for you, and adjusts to scale with the size of your text. You can change the color and the opacity of the background by clicking the style button after the Background: label. Click this button again to return to text editing options.

Once you click Save in the Text Editing Sheet, your Overlay will appear in the Main Window.

Editing Text Overlays

To position a text Overlay, place your cursor in the middle of the Overlay and drag. If you’d like to adjust the Overlay’s size, hover your cursor in the bottom right-hand corner of the Overlay, and look for it to change to arrows. Drag to adjust the size. You may also use your trackpad’s pinch-to-zoom gesture, or your mouse’s scroll gesture to resize any Overlay.

If you’d like to change the text or visual style of the Overlay, place your cursor over the Overlay. Two icons will appear on its left. The brings back the Text Editing Sheet for adjustments. A double-click on the Overlay will also bring back the Text Editing Sheet.

If you would like to hide the Text Overlay from the screen, place your cursor over the Overlay. Two icons will appear on its left. The hides the text Overlay. You can bring the Text Overlay back to the screen by clicking the next to the name of the Text Overlay in the Overlays Window, or selecting it from the Overlays Menu at the top of your display.

To change the width of a text Overlay without changing the font size, place your cursor over the right edge of the Overlay. When the cursor switched to a left-right arrow, drag left or right to adjust the width.

Image Overlays

Would you like to show your company logo in the corner of your broadcast? That’s one of the most common uses for Image Overlays. But there are many possibilities. If you’d like to go beyond the styling capabilities of Text Overlays, you can design text in a graphics app, such as Photoshop or Pixelmator, save them as an image, and add them to your broadcast as an Image Overlay. This is a powerful way to supplement your broadcast’s branding. You can simply drag and drop any supported image file on the Main Window or Overlays Window to instantly create a new Overlay. Or if you prefer, there are 4 other ways to create an Image Overlay:

  • Select New Image Overlay in the pull-down button in the Main Window
  • Select New Image Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Click the button at the bottom the Overlays Window
  • Type shiftN while in the Main Window.

A File Selection Sheet will appear, allowing you to find and select one image file. Select a JPEG, PNG or GIF. Animated GIFs are also supported—let’s use that last one responsibly, shall we?

ProTip: When creating an image in an external graphics application for an Overlay, PNG is a great format. PNG saves losslessly (without visible degradation from data compression), and can have an alpha channel (allowing parts of the image to be transparent). This can add an additional pro touch to your onscreen look. If you’re interested in a “lower third” or “chyron” graphic, create a PNG in your graphics editor of choice and use it as an Image Overlay in Ecamm Live.

Editing Image Overlays

To reposition the Image Overlay, place your cursor in the middle of the Overlay and drag. If you’d like to adjust the Overlay’s size, hover your cursor in the bottom right-hand corner, and look for it to change to arrows. Drag to adjust the size. You may also use your mouse’s scroll feature, or your trackpad’s pinch-to-zoom feature to resize any Overlay.

If you would like to remove the Image Overlay from your broadcast, place your cursor over the Overlay. The will appear on the left. It hides the Image Overlay from the Main Window (and current Scene). You can bring the Image Overlay back to the screen by clicking the next to the name of the Image Overlay within the Overlays Window, or selecting it from the Overlays Menu at the top of your display.

Comment Overlays

If you’re broadcasting with Facebook Live, YouTube Live or Periscope, and you receive a comment, you can drag that comment from the Comments and Reactions Window into the Main Window. Ecamm will automatically convert your comment into a styled text Overlay, matching the style of your most recent comment Overlay. If you want two different Comment Overlays to appear on screen at once, drag a second comment to the Main Window.

You can also click the tiny Add To Broadcast button below each comment, or click the comment’s Profile photo to place the comment on screen. This feature remembers the placement and style of a previous Comment Overlay. If there’s currently a Comment Overlay on screen, clicking a different comment in the Comments & Reactions window will replace the currently displayed Comment Overlay. This is useful for clicking through a series of comments in succession.

Editing Comment Overlays

The text in a comment Overlay can be edited and styled just like a Text Overlay. Once a Comment Overlay is styled, future comments remember this styling.

Countdown Overlays

If you need to display a countdown timer on screen, use a Countdown Overlay.

There are 3 ways you can display a Countdown Overlay:

  • Select New Countdown Overlay in the pull-down button in the Main Window
  • Select New Countdown Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Click the button at the bottom the Overlays Window.

A Text Editing Sheet appears, providing all of the same visual styling options as with a Text Overlay. You can edit the End Time and text alignment. Ecamm Live will display a countdown to the chosen End Time. Press Save to display your timer within the Main Window.

Editing Countdown Overlays

You have the same controls as Text Overlays.

Overlay Quick Resize Options

Does an Overlay need a quick resize while on screen? Place your cursor over the bottom right-hand corner. The cursor will change to a resizing arrow. Drag to make the Overlay bigger or smaller.

If you’re using a mouse, you can put your cursor over an Overlay and scroll to change the size. If you’re using a trackpad, use the “pinch” or “spread” zooming gestures.

Pinch to shrink —Pinch to shrink

Spread to enlarge —Spread to enlarge

Managing Your Overlays

The Overlays Window offers several options for managing your Overlays.

Figure: Overlays Window Annotated

To delete an Overlay, select any item in the list and press your delete key, drag to the icon, or click the icon. The item will vanish. Trash an Overlay by mistake? Don’t panic. EditUndo or Z will bring it back.

You can show or hide a given Overlay by clicking its icon. You can reorder the Overlays by dragging them up or down. This can be helpful for organization, but if you have any Overlays that overlap, the items that are listed higher on the list are “above” the items lower on the list. This is called z-order or z-index.

If you need to further organize, you can create folders to group Overlays. Click the icon to create a new folder. Drag Overlays onto the folders to organize.

Note: Overlays are always auto-saved as you create and edit them.

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