Streaming’s become the big thing now days. Twitch is well known for its popular gamer streams, and digital artists have been using streams such as LiveStream for years to entertain curious watchers.
I’m not much for getting on a camera or a microphone and making myself look like a doof (which is what would happen if I did that on a stream), and my gaming habits are pretty dull. So I never got into the Twitch streaming much. I did use LiveStream years ago to do some art streams, which were pretty fun for Wayrift folks to get together, watch, listen to music and chat.
LiveStream, however, was always pretty intense on my computer. And it was rather difficult to schedule my art times around streams (I spend hours every week working on art for Wayrift and other projects). So I let the streaming drift off and forgot about it for a while.
The other day, I noticed someone talking about Picarto as a streaming site dedicated to digital artists in particular. This caught my interest, so I decided to try it out last night and see what I thought about it.
Picarto provides different streaming tools to choose from – Open Broadcaster and XSplit for Windows. I used XSplit for my exploration into Twitch streaming years ago, so I decided to try Open Broadcaster this time. I had to tweak it a little to add a source and the streaming info provided by Picarto, but I had my stream up and running in short measure.
Al and Syn joined in on my test run. Syn said that she thought the quality of the audio and video was quite good, compared to previous LiveStreams I’d done before. I had no issues with the stream software’s load on my computer. I was able to pop out the chat box into a new browser window and watch the chat on my main monitor while drawing on my Cintiq.
I was impressed that the site allowed you to categorize your stream by art style or art project (I put mine in Comics). People browsing the site can find your active stream pretty easily by looking through the category pages.
The system also allows for followers and subscribers. I haven’t messed with any of that sort of stuff yet, but it seems interesting.
The one negative I had about it was that a free Picarto account didn’t save my streamed video to the site for future watching. However, I did opt to save the video to my computer, and it did so in very good quality. I figure I can always edit the video and put it up on my YouTube account if I want to provide the stream for future viewing. Streams that I saved years ago at LiveStream were eventually purged and lost anyhow.
Aside from that, I’m pleased with the service Picarto offers and do suggest it to other artists who are interested in streaming.
I’m going to continue to stream during my art sessions, and test out a longer stream this weekend. Inking and running a stream at the same is the real test. I’ll see how it holds up on Sunday!