How to Add Drop Shadows in OBS?

Gamers who use webcams along with their gameplay like to separate the camera from what is going behind it. One of the cleanest graphics effects to achieve this is by making the webcam look three-dimensional and pop out of the gameplay using a drop shadow. Drop shadows in live streaming videos add contrast to the frame and serve as powerful visual cues for viewers. Drop shadows are easy to add and can be used with both chromakeyed and framed webcams. In this article, we will present different ways to add drop shadows in OBS streams.

What Are the Different Methods to Add Drop Shadows In OBS?

There are primarily three methods for adding drop shadows.

  • Importing PNG Files

    The easiest method to add drop shadows is to create them as PNG files in an image editing software such as Photoshop, and then importing them into OBS. The advantage of using editing software is that they can customize the images, such as adjusting the blur radius, opacity, color, and other details. Subsequently, the PNG file can be added underneath the webcam by right-clicking in OBS and selecting the image from the add an image source option.

  • Using Plugins

    The second option to add drop shadows in OBS is using plugins. This method is the best option while using a green screen as the shape of the webcam is changing dynamically and the PNG image cannot adjust the size of the drop shadow with the changing frames. While this method offers additional customization options, it could affect the processor load as the drop shadow has to be redrawn for every frame.

  • Webcam Nesting

    Another simple way to achieve the blur effect in OBS without any additional software is by nesting scenes. For example, the webcam source can be put in its own scene, and the duplicate can be used as a shadow. Adding a color key filter to the shadow scene, and then reducing contrast, brightness & gamma to 0 before nesting the webcam source into the shadow would deliver similar results. Then the two can be repositioned in the gameplay. With this method, however, there are relatively few customization options.

Why Is GPU Important for Using Drop Shadows In OBS?

Drop shadows are typically generated with Gaussian blur. These effects that rely on incremental computation algorithm on incremental computation algorithm perform significantly better on graphics processing units (GPUs). This is because GPU drivers increase the number of instructions dramatically as compared to a regular machine. It is therefore advisable to use GPU-enable devices for OBS Streaming.

Apps4Rent Provides GPU-Enabled Virtual Desktop for OBS Streaming

Whether users prefer to add drop shadow directly in OBS, use a plugin, or use photo editing software such as Photoshop, a GPU-enabled machine can significantly improve performance. As a Microsoft and Citrix partner, Apps4Rent is a pioneering cloud solution provider (CSP) that offers GPU-enabled virtual desktops using cutting-edge technology for Adobe Creative Cloud and OBS hosting. Contact our cloud solutions architects, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for assistance.


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