Adding a Shader to an Object
Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Add a Shader in Maya
Objects created in Maya start with a default lambert1 shader. When you assign a new shader to an object, the old one is no longer connected to the object.
Open the Attribute Editor and right click an object to view the object's menu.
Scroll down to Assign New Material > Lambert.
In the Attribute panel, rename your new shader and click the Color rectangle to change the color.
Adjust the Transparency and Diffuse sliders as desired.
Other Ways to Add a Shader
Another way to add a texture is by clicking the object and selecting Lighting/Shading > Assign New Material while viewing the Rendering menu set.
You can also add a shader by selecting the object and clicking the Rendering shelf tab. Once inside the Rendering shelf, click the icon for the desired shader.
The more advanced method involves building your shader network in the Hypershade. Once the network is complete, middle-mouse drag the shader to your object.