Using references in Maya
During your use with Maya you may come across multiple processes that can be used to reach the same creative result. Generally, you will use references to create models. You can normally draw these references out on paper then scan your design in.
To import a reference in Maya you first must have the file you want to import, this may be in any image file format e.g JPG, JPEG, PNG or even ai for adobe illustrator. To create the reference you will want to firstly create a new Maya Scene so your Scene is completely empty for your new project. As soon as Maya has completed loading its interface and is responsive you can press the space key on your keyboard to switch to multiple orthographic views. These views contain a top, side, bottom and perspective view that looks like this.
Within this interface, to import the reference image you would like to use, you should place on on the side and front orthographic views. In my case it is the bottom left and bottom right views.
Click the "View" tab and navigate down the drop down menu and select "Image Plane" This will bring another drop down menu from that selected name. Navigate to "Import image"
After clicking "Import image" you will see a new window that has come up, this window is the explorer to find the image you will like to import. I am going to use the reference used here - https://mundomupa.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/trasnos-model-sheet/ - (mundo mupa, 2011)
As you can see here, I have navigated where I have saved the image and I have selected it. After you have done this, click "Open" to import the image into your Maya project. Go ahead and do the exact same process on the front view with the same image. This is what it looks like with both images imported into the project.
To edit this and make it more rugged like a cave, lets turn on soft selection by clicking the cursor icon on the left, under the soft selection drop down, click the tick. You can edit the radius and curve presets which will change how the tool will act. I used a radius of 3 and the default curve setting. To finish this off, select the modelling work space at the top left, go under the Mesh drop down on the top menu bar and select Triangulate, this is the finished model.