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How to Use Animated Scene Transitions in Open Broadcaster (OBS)

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This post is part of a series called How to Record Screencasts with Open Broadcaster Software.
How to Use Scenes to Transition Between Sources in Open Broadcaster

In the last tutorial in our series on screen recording with OBS we went through how to use scenes to contain and arrange your sources. We also touched on the easiest way to switch scenes, by clicking on the scene in question, (when not in studio mode).

In this tutorial we'll cover some of the finer points on switching between those scenes, including setting up transition effects, working in studio mode, and using custom hotkeys.

Let's begin!

1. Transition Effects in OBS

When transitioning from one scene to the next you have the option to use visual effects. For example, if you choose Fade you'll get a gradual shift from one scene into the next.

Fade transition effect

Transition effects can be set by selecting each of your scenes one at a time and choosing from the dropdown list towards the bottom right of the interface. Here you can also modify the duration of the transition, which is set to 300ms by default.

Set the fade transition

The available transitions are Fade and Cut, by default (the Cut setting effectively deactivates transition effects by just making a quick cut between scenes). However, if you click the plus (+) button under the transition select dropdown it will give you the additional options: Swipe, Slide, Fade to Color and Luma Wipe.

Select additional transitions

2. Studio Mode

To activate Studio Mode click the button on the bottom right.

Activate studio mode

This adds an Edit View on the left side of the interface. The Live View on the right shows  you what is being captured by OBS. If you switch scenes, (or make any other changes to your scenes and sources), you'll see your changes in the Edit View but not in your capture, giving you a chance to preview your settings. To push what you see in your Edit View into your Live View, click the Transition button between the two.

Transition between Edit View and Live View

This functionality is primarily designed to allow live-streaming video broadcasters to edit their scenes on the fly without viewers seeing it happen. However, this mode can also be useful when screen recording if you have several scenes, as you can ensure you don't accidentally select the wrong one before switching.

I've also found that on some operating systems there can be strange artifacts in the OBS interface that disappear when using studio mode, so it can be a good way to get around some troubleshooting issues.

3. Transition with Hotkeys

Once you setup your scenes the way you like them you can bind a hotkey to each of your scenes to transition to them easily. Open up the Settings, go to the Hotkeys tab and place your cursor in the field labelled Switch to Scene for the section corresponding to your first scene. Then press the key you want to associate with the scene, e.g. F1. Repeat this for each scene.

If you are working in Studio Mode scene switching hotkeys will not change what's actually captured in your video, they will only change what appears in the Edit View. As such you might also like to set a hotkey for the Transition field so you can use it push your scene switches into your Live View.

Note that you don't need to have the OBS application focused for your hotkeys to work. Additionally they will not prevent other applications' hotkeys from working, either, so be aware of that when using hotkeys for other purposes while recording. For example, if you have F5 bound to a scene and you hit F5 while in a browser, the browser will refresh but the hotkey will also trigger your scene to switch.

Wrapping Up

OBS is an amazing piece of software that gives great versatility and power to screen recording workflows. I hope this tutorial series has helped you get to grips with some of the key functionality of OBS, and that you're ready to get out there and start putting it to work!

For more information on OBS visit: https://obsproject.com/

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