So I had a lot of overall goals that I wanted for this project and I'll try to explain those and some of the choices I made.
Firstly, I wanted to effectively create a mood which as the project continued I ended up using a tone of melancholy. Which I tried to exemplified with the lack of life. So, I added the tree but took out most the leaves and the small remnants of leaves that remained I faded and made a tan, yellow, brown color. I also used the bird which I put in a menacing position, glaring down the most prominent branch eventually at the heap of mass in the right corner. I also altered the birds coloring to make it look more like a scavenger or bird of prey.
Secondly, I wanted to explore how to move someone's eye through the page and how that motion can create an aesthetic in itself. I mostly tried to play with lighting and vector lines. So, on the top image I made very straight vectors, with fibrous, (literally) tree like,... lines. So yeah. I toned down all the branches except for the one with which I wanted to be the main vector line. I also tried to use the birds gaze as a vector. I used lighting by making the top left the brightest part of the image while the bottom right is the darkest. Overall, I tried to make a very straight feel.
With the bottom image I tried to give the eye a very contrasting experience, which I think is really the heart of the work. I tried to move the eye in wavy, circling patterns. I also blurred the image and tried to do so in a way that made a sort of circling effect, again. Yeah. I tried to allude to the human figure in the bottom image, for several reasons, but for the reasons of the eye to again create a waving effect. Speaking of waves... the original image WAS a wave, the background. Which I think is the main focus of eye movement in the bottom piece. I also tried to work with light again, yada yada yada.
I don't know how much you want us to explain our choices, I'd be glad to but I don't want to seem like a complete piece of shit.
And a link to the actual image in the right size.