Texture maps let you modify the appearance of your 3D models and scenes in Maya. Texture maps are images you apply and accurately position onto your surfaces using a process called texture mapping. When an image is texture mapped onto a surface, it alters the appearance of the surface in some unique way. Texture maps let you create many interesting visual effects:
Most shading attributes for a surface material can be altered by a texture map. For example, color, specular, transparency, and reflectivity are examples of attributes that can be modified by a texture map.