Articles, Blog

The Story Behind Red Monster (Adobe Character Animator)

February 14, 2020

On November 22, 2013, I sent a fateful email
to longtime Adobe employee David Simons, one of the founding creators of the popular motion
graphics tool After Effects, who was now working with a new team on a new animation product
codenamed Beaker. At the time I was working on a different team
inside Adobe, but I was beta testing Beaker. And they had asked us to send them characters
to test the new technology with. And so I sent this email with a simple character
I cobbled together during a break – and called the attachment Red Monster. Now I’ll be honest – had I known what was
about to happen next, I probably would have spent a little more time making him look a
bit more polished. Well, the team immediately latched onto him. Quality Engineer Dan Ramirez gave him a nose. And then he started popping up in demos. He was a simple, goofy character who was essentially
one big face, which evidently showcased Character Animator’s face tracking well…and because
of that, he slowly became Character Animator’s mascot. Roughly a year later. at the Adobe MAX conference in October 2014,
former Adobe designer Josh Ulm demoed in front of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe CEO
Shantanu Narayen and introduced Red Monster…or should I say Mr. Squiggles…to the world. Shortly after that a design position opened
up and I was lucky enough to officially join the Character Animator team. And that meant more and more appearances from
Red Monster. Tee shirts. Pillows. Temporary tattoos. Socks. Even a cookie mold (thank you 3D Printing
Nerd Joel Telling for that one). Red Monster became included as an example
file in the app itself, which meant a lot of you started making videos with him too. Eventually I took the time to streamline the
original character design, which is essentially the same Red Monster you see today. Now, that guy with the Red Monster tattoo
is David Arbor, a Washington DC based designer and animator, who I became fast friends with
through various Adobe conferences and whatnot. When some people online were wondering what
Red Monster looked like from the back, David stepped in and made this quick 3D render that
revealed…well, a red tail and backside. That’s uh, non-canonical by the way. But recently David got to work with us and
update his 3D Red Monster using Cinema 4D. He updated the general form factor, added
some props, threw in a multi-layered mouth file as a material, rendered out individual
parts and shadows, and composited and organized them all in Photoshop. So I’m incredibly happy to share Red Monster
3D with you today as a free downloadable puppet to use however you want in your own creations
and stories. He’s an incredibly versatile character with
several different views, a ton of great props to play around with, and a well-stocked controls
panel. It’s been pretty awesome to see this little
guy evolve over time, and I hope you enjoy checking him out and giving him some new adventures…if
you do, please share them using #CharacterAnimator so the team can find them and watch them. Thanks for the memories so far Red Monster,
and I’m looking forward to many more in the years to come.


  • Reply Hakim10 Saifi February 10, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks a lot for this great job ! We still waiting for you to visite us in London !

  • Reply Tiffany La Belle February 10, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Well done Dave! OMGoodness it's awesome to see the process of red monster! AND THANK GOD ADOBE hired you!!!! You are the most legendary teachers on YouTube out there! PLEASE please please Adobe if you're listening… please make more tutorials with people like Dave! The people you have making tutorials for Ae send me to sleep all the time… I SWEAR I WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN INTO animation if it weren't for DAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD THANK YOU DAVE!!!!

  • Reply winterx February 10, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    I am a slice of bread who loves watching your videos

  • Reply Political Puppet Theatre February 10, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Great job, I may have to pay each month but Adobe products allow even non artistic people to cobble together some cool stuff!

  • Reply Scott Evans February 10, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Fantastic 🙂 Loving 3D Monster

  • Reply Radun De Silva February 10, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Well done dave 🎉🎉

  • Reply Random Robo February 10, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Simply amazing.

  • Reply Space Cat February 10, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks Dave!

    Be sure to learn your lesson.

    We are waiting for new opportunities for our puppets.

    With great regards and best wishes from faraway Russia !!!

  • Reply Mazi February 10, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    The red monster is cool and everything… but you are the true mascot and star of CH!! When do we get the 3D puppet of Dave??!😂

  • Reply Christopher Azar February 10, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    So cute!

  • Reply Bruno Ticianelli February 10, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    A new tutorial for 3D comming??

  • Reply Tarek's Histology February 10, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    awsome work

  • Reply February 11, 2020 at 12:12 am

    Very cool. And fantastic update – gonna get that asap.

  • Reply hackLAB February 11, 2020 at 2:08 am

    Dave, your passion for art, robots and animation has truly inspired me. Thank you for being who you are. I can’t wait to meet you someday.

  • Reply Xianmu Shi February 11, 2020 at 3:19 am


  • Reply Kamran Jawaid February 11, 2020 at 3:55 am

    Loving what you and the team at Adobe have accomplished. And looking forward to playing with the Red Monster in Ch!

  • Reply Artifex Rex February 11, 2020 at 4:23 am

    Very inspiring my friend! I might end up writing him into my Grammar learning series with my S the snake. Could be interesting to have a 3D character in my paper dimension

  • Reply ShizL On TV February 11, 2020 at 5:13 am

    Dave is the reason I am getting into creating cartoons

  • Reply Z the Wolf Dog February 11, 2020 at 5:59 am

    <3 <3 <3

  • Reply Krishan Kant February 11, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Is there any way to use character Animator with 3D-model made in blender?

  • Reply OMNI Marvelous Kids February 11, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Character Animator is awesome. but still needs a lot of improvements.

  • Reply Chris OVEMERY February 12, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Hey Dave, quick question – will we ever see the ability of having different physics attached to different dangles in the scene? (or do we already but I haven't figured it out)
    Thanks for awesome vids!

  • Reply Asem Abuelhija February 12, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    This is so cool.. your videos inspired me to come up with my new character..
    Thank you sir!

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