if you are textureing an object that is complex (which means not a simple cube
) then you are gonna have to map out your object before you start placing texture on it.
Use planar, cylindrical, spherical mapping if you are texturing a polygon
If NURBS, paint the object's area in color codes and then bring that file into a paint program and paint the real texture there then transfer it back.
hope that helped a little, if not
9 months into Maya...and still learning...
0 experience with any other 3D programs