Skype enables numerous users to bridge the geographic divide and communicate with friends and family using a webcam, but admittedly it can get rather boring just talking to a camera all the time. If you want to add a little humor and variety to your Skype conversations, webcam utilities exist to overlay your existing video feed with a variety of images and special effects.

Adding Visual Effects

Step 1

Download and install a webcam utility. Common options include ManyCam and WebcamMax, which are free, and ArcSoft Magic-i Visual Effects, which is paid (links in Resources).

Step 2

Launch Skype and click "Tools" and then "Options." Select the "Video settings" tab. Select the webcam feed, for example "ManyCam Virtual Webcam," as third-party utilities often create their own feed separate from the main webcam. Click "Save."

Step 3

Within Skype Options, click the "Audio settings" tab. From the Microphone drop-down, select the microphone, such as "Microphone (ManyCam Virtual Microphone)."

Step 4

Open the utility and adjust settings as needed. For ManyCam, to activate special effects, image overlays or backgrounds select the "Effects" tab. Different category folders of effects will appear, and each contains multiple webcam effects, as well as the ability to download more custom art.

Step 5

Launch Skype and begin a call. Each time Skype loads, the cam you chose will also appear. Select the effect or graphic you want during a Skype call and the utility will automatically apply the selected elements onto your webcam feed.

Warnings

  • Webcam utilities will attempt to install bloatware like Ask.com Toolbar and setting Ask.com as your browser home page. Deselect any installation options for these.

Tips

  • You can test out special effects, backgrounds and graphic overlays from the utility's interface as it displays your webcam feed there.

  • You can download and import additional effects from downloaded files, provided they are a file format recognized by the utility.