For my texture maps, I use photo reference to paint my images. Cheating is good when creating texture maps. It also depends on the style that you are going for.
For my maps, I will usually paint over the images to touch them up and really make them distinguishable.
This is the specular map. The specular map will tell the renderer what part of the map should have a matte reflection, and what part has a glossy reflection. The areas that are white are glossy, and the areas that are black are matte. This gives the user control in where they want their object to show highlights.
To create this image I make a greyscale image of my texture map, and bump up the contrast.
This is the displacement map. This is what really gives life to the object. Like the specular map, the renderer uses the displacement map not to change the reflectiveness, but the height of the geometry. The renderer reads white as 1 and black as 0. The reason the image is blurred is so that the changes in shape will be gradual.
This is done simply taking the specular map, and throwing a gaussian blur on the image.
Now that our maps are created, I am going to go through steps it takes to create the shader for the stool.
Back in maya under Window, Rendering Editors, select Hypershade...
This will open a window called the Hypershade. The hypershade is a tool for creating maya shaders.
Click under Create, Materials, Blinn. This will create your blinn shader. I prefer the blinn shader over the lambert because it gives me the option of controlling the specularity.