Building a stream layout is a lot of work. Design elements like colours, fonts and layouts have to be consistent. In the past, I used to design things in Photoshop or Affinity Photo, cut the assets up into smaller pieces and then either use them in OBS directly or run them through DaVinci Resolve for some basic animation. This approach works fine on a rather static layout.
Now I’ve been toying around with the idea of what I call “After Dark” streams that have their own, slightly different style. The fonts and layouts stay the same, however, all the colours change. With my old workflow I would either need to re-export and edit all the assets… or find another way.
For a while, I have been doing my layouts as HTML documents now. Using CSS animations and jQuery as a base for dynamic data processing, I can easily switch things around.
Since I am on Windows, reading/writing the contents of a JSON file is really easy with Powershell. So I can map some Stream Deck keys to perform value toggles in the JSON, causing my layout to dynamically adjust.
Same for the “Now Playing on Pretzel” widget. It processes the JSON file generated by Pretzel’s desktop client, dynamically resizes the widget and even fades out once music stops playing.
The overall advantage is obvious: If I ever choose to edit the colour scheme, it is one edit within one CSS file. New font? A couple of changes. Changing the stream title, metadata et al is also just a simple set of nodes in a JSON file – the rest of the layout dynamically adjusts. And it is all easily accessible through one press on my Stream Deck.
Additionally, this approach reduces the number of required scenes/elements drastically. Whereas you would either need to toggle the visibility of sources or duplicate scenes on a more traditional setup, everything runs in proper code here. I have no dedicated intermission scene… the title card simply transforms into it, keeping all elements coherent within the scene.
“But Tsukasa, the performance impact”, people will yell. I dare say that any blur effect on a fullscreen video in OBS has probably a heavier impact on the performance than a reusable browser source. The entire title card sits at around 10% CPU usage, with a good portion of that going towards the VLC video source.
So I feel it is high time people stop using video-based layouts and migrate to proper HTML-based ones.