For a static view it could easily be re-created using shape layer paths and masiks with strokes, but of course if you need to swish around in 3D this would be a lot of extra work, so yes, doing it in Maya is perhaps a good idea unless you want to spend money on extra plug-ins or putting up with the mess that is the Cinema 4D renderer and import.
In 2007 I wrote an article on using displacement maps that were animated using point lights as a light source with positive and negative intensity values to get mirrored displacement from positive and negative red and green values created by the lights. The result looks like this:
I have uploaded an updated project file for you to play with. This is what the Displacement Map comp looks like:
If you have a budget for a plugin, I suggest Freeform Pro from AE Scripts. You can even add Projection Mapping to a Freeform layer to distort any type of image. Here's an overview of the plugin:
I use both techniques. One is easier than the other for some designs. The other is more efficient for different scenarios. It all depends on the project. If I knew what you were trying to accomplish, I could give you some more efficient suggestions.