"This process is akin to applying patterned paper to a plain white box." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texture_mapping
Texture mapping is important. It is one of the components that makes a model look realistic. Quite simply, the better the texture map, the more realistic the model. This post is about GeoUV from Geometric Informatics, the company whom I am employed by. GeoUV is a plug-in for Maya and 3D Studio Max. GeoUV excels over other texture mappers by automating the mapping process while minimizing distortion. It increases the amount of memory used for each object, resulting in more efficient memory use and more realistic detail. It is available for Windows or Linux platforms, allowing you to work in your environment of choice.
The evaluation version has limited functionality. Meshes are limited to triangles; quads are supported in the full version only. The evaluation version displays the texture coordinates as a flat 3D mesh rather than as actual UV values. However the full version displays the texture coordinates as actual UV values.