Green screens are a great way to improve the look of your stream, and with OBS/chroma key, it’s never been easier! This tutorial will be a basic intro for how to setup and have yourself a professional looking channel.
What You Will Need
There are only a couple of components required for a proper greenscreen setup. First and foremost, you need…wait for it..a green screen! You can use almost any color backdrop, but green and blue are the most user friendly. There are cases of people using yellow backdrops as well, but you want to try and avoid a color that’s close to your skin tint, as it will cause more confusion and headaches with chroma key. There are a few options for obtaining your backdrop. You can easily purchase a semi-professional green/blue screen online for relatively cheap. However, one of our CRL members uses painted cardboard glued to styrofoam, and another of our members even uses fadeless paper roll!
The second thing you’ll need is even, or uniform, lighting. As chroma key basically makes one general color transparent, shadows and various shadings on your backdrop will cause uneven lighting and potential problems. Since everyone’s streaming “command center” is going to be different, it’s really up to you to find what lighting works. You should have some form of front lighting on yourself as well as even lighting on your backdrop. No worries if your lighting can’t be 100% even, but get it as close as possible. Chroma key allows adjustments on similarities and blends of colors.
Examples of even and uneven lighting
The picture on the left has the most even lighting all around. Although this is not absolutely perfect, the shade is very similar throughout and will work well for CK (Chroma Key). The picture on the right, though it may not look like much, has much more lighting on the one side. If your lighting is uneven like this, you’ll notice the problem with having various hues and shading the moment you enable CK.
Once you’ve got your backdrop ready to rock, it’s time to chroma key! Within OBS, click on your camera (should be under source or global sources depending on how you originally setup). Choose properties and the fun can begin :)
You’ll notice a section in the camera’s properties clearly labelled “Chroma Key”(CK). By default, CK is disabled and set for the shade of white. Let’s go ahead and enable CK by check marking the “use chroma key” option. With CK enabled, double click on the “Color” section to bring up a color palette. I DO NOT recommend using the select/eyedropper method you may be familiar with for transparent chats (we have a tutorial for that too!)
With the color palette open, select the closest shade to your backdrop. You may need to try a couple of different shades to see which preset is best. Click OK once you select your shade and you’ll see some magic happen. The shade you selected has a preset of “Similarity”, “Blend”, and “Spill Reduction”. You will immediately notice a change with your backdrop in OBS. This is where messing around with the settings comes in.
Most of your tweaking will be with “Similarity” and “Blend”. In most cases, the similarity will be much higher than blend. Play around with the presets by raising and lowering similarity/blend until your backdrop is completely gone and only you remain visible on your OBS layout. Once again, as everyone’s streaming setup (room, lighting, backdrop) is going to be different, there isn’t a specific number I can provide in this tutorial for your CK settings. Play around with it until you find your magic number(s). :D
Below I will include a couple pictures of what your stream can look like. As crazy as it sounds, when using Chroma Key you will even have to keep in mind the clothes you’re wearing or even the color of your hair!