Bill The Butcher

Gangs of New York is one of my favorite movies of all time. Great acting, great story, and it showed a piece of history that many people, even those living in New York City today, never really knew about.

Daniel Day-Lewis is a tremendously great actor. Every role he plays instantly becomes iconic, and Bill The Butcher is no exception. So when it came time to make a 3D model of someone as realistic as possible, I had thought of Bill almost immediately (though through the process, everyone thought I was creating Abe Lincoln, and this was BEFORE Daniel Day-Lewis was portraying him).

Like any model, you start with the references. I got a LOT of photos of Daniel Day-Lewis, both of him at red carpets and such, and as him as Bill. I also got photos of what he wore during the movie. I saw a lot of 3D sculpts of him ready for war, so this time I had him dressed up very fancily – the red jacket, stove-top hat, waistcoat, etc. Something he’d wear while walking around the Five Points.

I was also fortunate enough to have the DVD of Gangs of New York, which contained small documentaries on the making of the film, including costuming. They talked specifically about Bill the Butcher’s costuming, and the difficulties of researching the clothing of the time period in relation to what those below the poverty line wore.

I used 3 Texture maps for this. Normally I only use one, but I was requested to make 3 separate materials, one for the head, one for the torso and arms, and one for the legs.

Reference Image


Base Mesh


Hi-Resolution Sculpt in zBrush




Texture Maps


In Game Renders (Unreal Development Kit)

Butcher_IGButcher_IG_Front Butcher_IG_Side Butcher_IG_Rear

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