How to Make an Obey Poster

By Daniel Ketchum

During the election of 2008, you may have become familiar with the work of Shepard Fairey through his iconic red, blue and black Obama poster. This work was connected to his overall "Obey" poster campaign, which was typified by a reliance on a photo-like outline and just a few colors to define the shapes. If you would like to create this style of poster yourself, it is fairly easy to do a good approximation in Photoshop.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Photoshop

Step 1

Upload an image you own to your computer, or download a public-domain image that you can use.

Step 2

Open Photoshop. Go to the bottom of the "Layers" panel and click on the "New Layer" icon. This will place a blank layer above the image. Right-click on the image layer and select "Duplicate." Drag the copy of the image layer you just made above the blank layer. Click on the "Eye" next to the original image layer to hide it.

Step 3

Use the "Pen" tool to create a path around the part of the image you want to keep--say, the head of the person in the image. Right-click on the path and select "Make Selection." Go to "Selection" and click "Inverse." Delete the selection.

Step 4

Go to "Selection" and hit "Inverse" again. Then go to "Image" and select "Crop."

Step 5

Go to "Filters, Artistic" and select "Cutout." Go with the default settings. Then go to "Image, Adjustment" and click on "Color Balance." Adjust the settings until you like what you see.

Step 6

Go to "Select" and click "Deselect All." Now use the "Eyedropper" tool to select one of the colors on the inside of you image (try to avoid picking one that is along the edge of the object). Use the "Fill" tool to fill the blank layer with that color.

Step 7

Click again on the top layer, select the "Text" tool, and type in a slogan you want to use.

References & Resources