Science Fiction Prototypes (SFPs) are plausible science fiction futures that are based on threatcasting research. They allow the audience to explore the ethical, cultural, policy and security impacts on people.  The US Army Cyber Institute uses SFP’s to urge cadets to think about potential future digital/cyber capabilities that could affect the security of the country. Hero is just one of these stories.

The Hero motion comic SFP process started with an original espionage script that was then adapted into storyboard panels to plot out how the tiny autonomous drone bug would fly through each scene.  To achieve a full 3D immersive feeling when animated, the foreground, mid-ground, and background layers of each scene were identified to help give the artist compositional direction.

The artist was given the storyboards and began a three-step approval process beginning with rough pencil sketches, inks and finally coloring.  Even though the final motion comic was only going to be displayed in 16x9 format, the artist was directed to create full-page art to give the animator the capability to fly the camera around in the space when converted to motion graphics.

In After Effects, the final layered Photoshop files were then converted and placed into a 3D space.  All characters and elements in each scene were animated and a camera was added using an extreme depth of field to represent the Hero’s perspective as it flies through each scene.

In addition to the voice talent for each character, background music and many sound effects were used to create the auditory world of an autonomous robot listening to its surroundings - filtering out noises to directly focus in on conversations throughout its mission.

Agency: Winkstink Design Inc.
Client: Army Cyber Institute at West Point
Creative Direction: Sandy Winkelman
Writer: Brian David Johnson
Producer: Shyama Helin
Art Direction: Steve Buccellato
Art: Jason Badower
Animation: Sandy Winkelman
Sound Design: Sandy Winkelman
Editing: Sandy Winkelman

Threatcasting Lab: 

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