In response to a request on methods of getting a soft fur edge, this is my first post about it (after my first digital painting stuffs, lol), while the approach depends on what type of fur you need to deal with. You can also apply this on hair of human.
In this case, the animal -which i don't know what we called it exactly- has soft fur. To replicate it, that would be a bit o'time and simultaniously practice but absolutely can be easily accomplished by anyone.
Here is my origianl image :
The first step is removing the background. Use whatever you like the most to deal with. Here I used the Eraser (E) tool. Many of designer take this step by masking or something but I prefer the Eraser and it can be done just as well.
Added a black background to make it easier to see how it works and you can remove this black layer later on.
Use a medium sized soft brush and remove all traces of the background including anything that shows through the fur. A small soft brush should be used where the fur isn’t as thick as around the face, ears and finger or even paw.
Next, you can use the Smudge (R) tool with a small brush at about 30% pressure, pull-out areas of color to simulate fur around the entire animal.
Guys... It might take several strokes to accomplish each bit of fur but that adds to the more casual look of the new edge. Vary your stroke direction with some help of your left ([) or right (]) bricket on your PC, so that all the fur isn’t unrealistically going in exactly the same direction.
Again and again... Just be careful to vary the length and direction of these strokes. Have some of them cross over other hairs for a more realistic appearance. Keep in mind also the varying length of fur that exists on different portions of the animals body.
I added a shadow with a dark awesome pattern... and with the other sample, I put the animal with a huge wood background.