Tutorial: Livestreaming Your Art!
I draw in PaintTool SAI Ver.2, but this will work with any art program.
I use OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) to stream, which you do need in order for this to work!
Click the links above to download OBS Studio. Do not download the deprecated OBS Classic.
Once it's downloaded, install to your preferences, and then open the program!
When you open OBS, you should be greeted
with something more or less like this (if not, toggle "Studio Mode", bottom right).
Once you name it, you'll get this window:
And that's really it!
You can go to your account on your streaming platform and play with your channel's settings, but otherwise, that's really all you have to do to get broadcasting. When you're ready, you can click "Start Streaming", and it'll connect you to your channel! You can also click "Start Recording" with or without streaming. So in that way, OBS is also great for just recording your screen for any reason. When you're done streaming or recording, clicking that button again will stop it!
Bonus Tip #1:
Remember that whatever you see on your screen is exactly what your viewers are seeing, even if you're adjusting things in real-time. You can, however, toggle "Studio Mode" (Beneath the "Start Recording" button) to view two versions of the scene at once; one that only you can see on the left, and the one your viewers are seeing on the right. You can edit things on the left version, and then click the "Transition" button in the center to make the edited version what your viewers are seeing.
Bonus Tip #2:
Discord automatically detects when you launch OBS! You can click the cog to go into your settings on Discord and go to "Streamer Mode" to adjust the settings. When you have Streamer Mode on, Discord can silence your new message sounds, pop-up notifications, and even hide your personal information or any instant invite links, in case you have Discord visible on your stream. I recommend disabling Discord's sounds when you're streaming your desktop audio, or else everyone in your audience will think they're getting messages when you are ;)
As always, play with it! Learn what works best for you and make it your own.
The first thing you'll want to do is add a "Scene", so click the + sign in the very bottom left corner.
(I've put a heart on it for ya)
It'll ask you to name the new scene; the name doesn't matter, and you can change it later by right clicking and selecting "Rename". So how you name Scenes and, in a minute, Sources, is entirely up to your own organization methods.
Now you have a "Scene"! Scenes can be used to switch between different stream setups easily--sometimes even automatically, depending on how you set it up. For instance, I have a "Setting Up" Scene for when my stream first starts, and then an actual "Art Stream" Scene for when I get to work. You can also use these for "BRB" screens, or anything similar!
To start basic, though, we'll just walk through how to stream your art program alone, without too many fancy bells and whistles.
Now that you have your Scene, you'll want to click the other + sign under "Sources". There's a lot of options, but right now we're only interested in Window Capture. You'll be able to use this to show any window on your computer, even your browser if you so choose. But it will only show that window, which means if I set it to my art program, I can minimize it, tab out, or even have other windows on top of it--and my viewers will still only see the art window, and nothing else.
When you add a new Window Capture, it brings up this box. You can name it, and then, as you can see, you'll be able to add the same Window Capture again anywhere else, even in another Scene. It's worth noting that if you have copies of it like that, anything you edit/change on any one of them will affect all of them!
You can also adjust the sliders for volume, or click the icon on the right of the slider to mute/unmute.
In the "Video" tab, you can adjust your screen resolution. To my knowledge, all streaming platforms put out your video in 16:9 windows, so setting both your "Base (Canvas) Resolution" and "Output (Scaled) Resolution" to 1920x1080 has always worked great for me. I've also never had issues with setting it to 30FPS, as this seems to be a nice sweet spot where it doesn't incumber my computer or cause obnoxious lagging for my viewers.
I have "Disable Aero" checked, and this has always worked best for me.
The "Hotkeys" tab is only important if you want it to be!
You can set a hotkey for literally anything and everything, and every single source or scene you add can have a hotkey that toggles it or switches between them. Personally, I only use hotkeys for push-to-talk on my mic. I have it set up to the same hotkey I use for push-to-talk on Discord, so I don't have to do anything different from what I usually do if I'm streaming and using Discord at the same time.
The "Advanced" tab is even more technical crap. I don't know what most of it does, but here's how mine is set up, and nothing's caught fire or started leaking, so it must be working.
Depending on what streaming website you use, most of them will provide their own little tutorials for how to set this up. But it's straightforward enough with OBS Studio that you barely need it.
Use the drop-down under "Service" to select your platform. Mine, as shown, is Picarto! If you don't see yours, check the "Show all services" box and a ton more will come up.
Select your "Server" based on where you are in US or EU.
For the "Stream key", you'll need to go to your platform's website to get it.
Picarto is very easy; when you're logged in, you'll see a button in the top right that says "Go Live". If you click that, it walks you through everything you need, giving you your stream key after you click "Next" a few times.
It will open up a new window. On the left sidebar, you should see:
I'm going to leave you to explore the more mundane stuff at your own leisure, but for this tutorial, I'll walk you through the stuff you absolutely need to know just to function at the bare minimum. So let's start with General!
Most of these settings are just for your personal preference in operating OBS. But something worth taking note of us under the second header of "Output" in the General tab, there's this:
Now comes the fun part. Play around with adding window captures, text, images, even videos! You can create your own unique overlay very easily. I make my overlays in my art program, and then leave transparent areas as "windows" for things like my art program, music, etc. You can use the ^ v buttons in the Source box to rearrange the layering order of your different sources, moving things on top or beneath other things (you can also do this when you right click a source). Clicking the lock icon to the left of a source's title will lock it so it cannot be moved, resized, etc. Clicking the eye icon will toggle that source being shown or hidden (you can still toggle this if the source is locked).
Now it's time to hook up OBS to your streaming website so you can broadcast!
In the bottom right corner is a "Settings" button; that's where we're going next.
In the "Window" drop-down, you'll want to find your art program (or whatever your target window is).
It's important for this to set "Window Priority Match" to what I show in the screenshot. The difference is that if you tell it to only match that exact window title, you're liable to run into problems with art programs. For SAI at least, the program's window takes on the filename of your art, which means you'd have to adjust this setting every time you're working on a new file, or else the window won't show in OBS. Setting it to "otherwise find window of same type" allows it wiggle room to just show SAI itself, regardless of what you're working on.
If you do it right, this should be in your Sources box now:
And that big black screen with nothing in it should now show your art program! You can click and drag to reposition it, and also click and drag the red dots in the corners to resize it.
If you want to keep recordings of your streams, checking this will make OBS automatically record whenever you go live. However, making time-lapse videos is something I'll cover in a separate tutorial. For just broadcasting your art, there's no need for this!
So let's move on to the "Stream" tab!
This tab has very little content, but it's the most important. This is the information you give OBS to tell it what streaming website and account to broadcast to.
Funny enough, Twitch's stream key is actually more complicated to find, but you can easily get to it with the URL:
(Replace YOURUSERNAME with your username, obviously)
For other streaming platforms, if you're having trouble finding your stream key, Googling "[platform] stream key" should help!
It's important not to share or make public your stream key. Anyone who has it has the ability to broadcast to your account! If you ever need to, most streaming platforms that I've encountered offer you the ability to generate a new key.
Moving on to the "Output" tab!
This is mostly technical crap that you probably don't have to worry about, but if you use OBS to record anything, you can tell it where to put those recordings as files in your computer on this screen. I'm pretty sure OBS does not automatically save as .mp4 files, so you probably want to change this if you're using it so that you can more easily access the recordings!
The "Audio" tab is similarly technical crap, but if you plan to stream using your microphone or desktop audio, you'll need to play around in here! Make sure your "Desktop Audio Device" is set to whatever your computer uses for playing audio like your music, videos, etc. You can probably just select "Default" if you're not sure (unless you plan on splitting your audio like I did--but that was hell and that's going to be another tutorial one day, so don't worry about it now). You'll also want to set "Mix/Auxiliary Audio Device" to your working microphone. Everything else can be set to "Disabled".
Back on the main OBS window, you'll be able to test these to make sure they're receiving sound properly;
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