First of all - Thanks to everyone that added Snow Leopard to their favourites and thanks to all of my new watchers (as of writing this journal and since uploading Snow Leopard, there have been 281 of you!)
I've had quite a few questions lately as to how I do my photomanipulations. I'm self-taught and my methods have been developed completely out of trial and error. They may not be the best or most efficient ways to get to the end result, but they've served me well so far. I don't really have a proper tutorial, but here's a super quick and nasty ten step guide I chucked together of how I create my photomanips (I use Adobe Photoshop CS5.5):
Get a photo of someone you want to manipulate and once you have that, start looking through the stock photos and photography sections for a photo of an animal, but make sure that the lighting conditions and angle that the photo is taken at are similar in both photos. You may need to use more than one photo and take elements of each for different areas of the face/body. Always make sure you read the rules for the stock photos or get permission if the photo isn't stock photography and ALWAYS give credit to your sources.
Copy the animal's face onto the model's face and lower the opacity of the layer
Use 'Free Transform' tool to resize and rotate the animal's face to fit the model's face better and use the liquify tool to make finer adjustments.
At this point you may want to duplicate the layer of the model and smooth out their face (essentially make her face flat as if they don't have a nose). The patch tool is handy for this, but simply using the eyedropper and painting in the face works just as well. I sometimes smooth out the upper lip too. This is also a good place to start when applying shading for a muzzle if you plan on putting a muzzle on the model.
If the fur of the animal looks blurry, try running the sharpness tool over it, then use the smudge tool using a size approximately the same width as the larger strands/clumps of fur and smudge out the sharpness a bit. Play around with the strength of the smudge tool (I find 50-70% to be good).
Change the blending option for the layer that has the animal face. You may want to use multiply to darken the face. You may find it useful to duplicate the animal layer and play around with different combinations of opacity and blending options (for example, in the Snow Leopard manip, I duplicated the snow leopard photo. The first one used 'Multiply' at 66% opacity and the second used 'Soft Light' at 39% opacity)
Tidy up the picture, use the eraser tool to clean up any left over backgrounds from the animal photo. Use the dodge and burn tools to lighten and darken areas as required. Pay attention to lighting and add shadows and highlights as required.
You may need to paint in fur to make the image more consistent. I don't think I've had a single photomanip where I haven't had to paint in some fur. Start off with a base colour, and then add darker and lighter layers. I personally like to use different layers for each colour of fur that I add. To draw the fur, I just use the dune grass brush, though there are far better ones around if you just do a search here in dA. You may find it useful to set the brush to paint in the direction/angle of the mouse strokes (you can set this in the brush settings).
Paint the lips/eyes/ears/teeth on separate layers as required
If the colour/saturation in any part of your photomanipulation doesn't quite match up with other areas, use adjustment layers to get them blending in better with the other layers. This is usually necessary if you're working with several different photos. I like to use the Hue/Saturation adjustment layers to modify the colours. If you add the clipping mask to the previous layer, it will apply the adjustments to that layer only. If you don't add the clipping mask, the adjustment will affect all the layers.
I also recommend checking out these helpful tutorials:
hitsuji16 - fav.me/d52bwhv
pythos-cheetah - pythos-cheetah.deviantart.com/…
Toledo-the-Horse - khedvu.deviantart.com/art/Mani… (includes a full video)
shakealicious - shakealicious.deviantart.com/a… (Part 1) and shakealicious.deviantart.com/a… (Part 2)
Let me know how you go if you attempt it! I'd love to see the result. Also, feel free to send me a note if you get stuck or need some help/advice