The Story Behind Red Monster (Adobe Character Animator)

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.


  1. 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!!!!

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

  3. 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 !!!

  4. 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??!😂

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. I'm in love with your work! From the professional way you do the tutorials to the way you organize your channel and playlists, seeing this video made me happy for you man:) Cheers!

  9. Hi! Samurai, I have a question about the character animator. I was wondering if it would be possible to make my puppet's hand follow my mouse cursor, horizontally and in real time. I ask this because I would like to retransmit myself when I draw an illustration in photoshop and I need that my character move his hand at the same time on a sheet of paper. All this located in a small window in a corner of the composition. Is that possible Samurai? Thank you very much for your work. Really thanks 🙂

  10. He is too cute for words! One can still hope there is a Red Monster plushy in the future… now that he lives in the 3rd dimension!

  11. I'm trying to animate an MT. Rushmore puppet for tomorrow's President's Day. for simplicity's sake, I would like to have all four heads just have nutcracker mouths. but How do I rig a puppet with multiple mouths that I only want to respond one at a time? do I break them all into four puppets? and layer them over each other? I don't need them to move since they are all a single mountain. or is there a way to do this separately in CH animator?

  12. I'm having trouble with a character that i want to walk but its head is shaking while it walks. Here is a link showing the problem.

  13. My Walk Behavior stopped working somewhere along my editing. Once I was finished with the walking I started working on a head turn then when I went back to record, the walking behavior didn't work anymore. I'm not sure what went wrong.

  14. Wow this is Cool. I Was wondering about how people submit their work on your other videos. I was wondering where to submit my character for you to show it to people? I already made my videos with him.

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