As a leader in his industry, Aaron Wei is a proficient and demanding senior compositor. It has been over a year since we last checked in with the Chinese native (see our previous article here), so we decided to see just what he has been up to, and man, has he ever been busy.
In his role, Wei always strives for perfection, at times even believing he can do better when everyone else is blown away by his work. He has a very high standard, ensuring his entire team pushes themselves to create digital works of art that blend flawlessly into a production.
Such an attitude has allowed Wei to work on many award-winning films and television shows, as well as commercials for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. He recently worked on the upcoming movie Five Feet Apart, and spent his last year creating content for series like The Americans and The Good Fight and features such as Night School and Second Act.
“Aaron is a trusted colleague who the team relies on to consistently produce high quality work. He is often given the lead role to conduct creative direction and technical procedure. He has an exceptionally rare talent in combining raw artistic skills and creativity with a highly analytical and logical approach to his work,” said Selim Yang, Compositing Supervisor.
One of Wei’s more recent successes is M. Night Shyamalan’s new blockbuster hit Glass. Starring icons such as Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy, the story follows David Dunn, played by Willis. After pursuing Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) and the multiple identities that reside within, David finds himself locked in a mental hospital alongside his archenemy, Elijah Price (Jackson) and must contend with a psychiatrist who is out to prove the trio do not actually possess superhuman abilities.
“People always fear some kind of superpower over humankind. This kind of story has been told by many movies and literature throughout time. They all have the same ending, that few wanted to let the public know of the super being’s existence. I like the concept that we believe all can live in harmony together,” said Wei.
When Wei heard that there was going to be another part of a sequel to the 2000 hit Unbreakable and the 2016 smash Split, with stars Bruce Willis and James McAvoy, he knew instantly he wanted to be a part of making it a reality. He had always been a fan of Willis and McAvoy, growing up watching films like Armageddon and The Sixth Sense and recently becoming a big admirer of the X-Men series. He reached out to the Glass team and was happy to be brought on board.
The movie has many difficult shots that created a fun and unique challenge for many senior compositors. In some of the shots, they needed to apply the “beast look” to James McAvoy to make him look furious and angry. To do that, they had to digitally input a lot of veins on his body. In the shots where the character was fighting and moving all over the place, it made the skin texture tracking almost impossible. Those few challenging shots were passed over by many different senior artists, and no one could figure out how to solve the issue. However, when they made their way to Wei, he did a perfect track by creatively using ST mapping and put on all the vein effects seamlessly on his skin.
“I felt some challenges working on this project, it’s not like other kinds of work I have done. The methodology is different in order to fix the specific problem. This project really stretched my creative thinking and problem solving,” he said.
Wei’s hard work was not in vain, as Glass has gone on to be a box office smash around the world. Grossing over $200 million USD so far, the film has broken records and is one of Shyamalan's most successful productions. Wei is thrilled by the film’s success, although he says, it didn’t come as a surprise.
“I think this movie was set to succeed without a doubt. Moving forward, I think there could possibly be some awards during the next season for the film,” he said. “One of my colleges told me he saw my name in the credits when he went to see the movie, and that was awesome. When people say that, I am very proud.”
Glass is still in theatres around the world. Prepare to be immersed in the story and the outstanding VFX from Wei and his team.