Chroma Keys
Caolan Cregan avatar
Written by Caolan Cregan
Updated over a week ago

This article will explain how to add a chroma key to your webcam in OBS and SLOBS so you can cleanly cut out the green background of a green screen, and/or the animated webcam frame you've purchased. This will allow you to have a clear cutout of you without the undesired background.

One of the many decisions you'll make as a streamer has to do with webcams, the placements, sizes, potential animations, and whether or not to use a green screen to customize the look of your stream overlay.

Before we begin, please make sure you've checked out VBI's YouTube video on how to add webcam overlays. Additionally, check out the article on adding overlays to OBS for more information about how to add your newly designed VBI graphics.

IMPORTANT- One last thing- LIGHTING.
Lighting is very, very, important when using a chroma key on a webcam (not an issue with animated designs with the background because it's an image on your screen, which is not impacted by lighting). Without proper, soft lighting, the chroma key filters (described in Step #3) will be more difficult to figure out. Essentially you'll want as much lighting in the room (and on you without blinding you) to make the chroma key clean and smooth. this may take some time to figure out, but don't get discouraged.

What is a Chroma Key?

Chroma keying is a technique many streamers use to remove the background of their webcam to only capture their body with the webcam. Chroma keying is also used by filmmakers to remove the background of a camera shot, and replace it with another background (think about a weatherman standing in front of a map).

Most often than not, a green screen is used in chroma keying for the simple reason that green is not a color, or shade found in any human skin tone, making it easy to remove the background without altering the look of the streamer.

For example we have two images to help clarify the difference.​

Zach (left) does not use a chroma key or green screen, and allows his webcam to capture the background of his stream office. Jeff (right) uses a green screen behind him, then adds a chroma key to filter out the green screen, allowing him to have the clear cut out of just him.

How to add a chroma key filter

Note- Each webcam has its own advanced settings that impact white balance, shading, brightness, etc., and should be adjusted before adding a chroma key in OBS/SLOBS.

Step #1- Add Webcam Source and (if used) Webcam Frame

Open OBS, select the scene you're working on, and make sure your webcam is added as a Video Capture Device source. If you have not added a webcam source, click on the "+" key in the bottom tray under Sources box.

Position your webcam to the spot you want it. If using a frame (or "box"), position the frame over the webcam. Keep in mind you want the frame above the webcam in source in the list of sources, as the layering will allow the webcam to sit "behind" the frame as to not overlap.

Step #2- Adding the Chroma Key Filter

Now it's time to add a filter to your webcam. Go to the Sources list, and right-click on the webcam or frame source. A pop-up window will appear with the webcam on the right.​

In the bottom left, click on the "+" to add an Effect Filters. Select Chroma Key to bring up another window. Name it, or leave it default, and you'll see some sliders for the filter.

Step #3- Adjusting the filter's settings​

The Key Color Type should match the color of the background you wish to cut out. Since I use a green screen, I selected Green, and then need to adjust the sliders until the color is greyed out, as seen below.​

Now the green will not appear, and will not be captured when recording or broadcasting. The gray background in the above image indicates the filter has been added appropriately.

Note- depending on the specific color of your background/green screen, you may have different numbers for the above sliders. Play around with them to experiment and find the exact settings needed for you.

Be sure to not wear any clothing that has a shade of the filtered Key Color or you'll appear as a floating head unless that's your sort of thing.


Click Close in the bottom left and you're all set!

We at Visuals By Impulse hope this article helps, as we want your streams to look as good as you do. If you have any questions, please drop into our Discord for more help.

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