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Late bloomer

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Late bloomer

I have seen older posts by older folks but not quite as old as me and this isn't just asking for a college rec. I'm 44 and through a series of life events have finally found something I feel the same passion I felt as a teenager for my first career. But I'm 44. Going to a college for a 4-year art degree isn't impossible but not too feasible at this point and I'd be near 50 when I even graduated. The two degrees I have aren't in art, although I'm an artist in my own time specializing in miniature finely detailed drawings with a love of shading, texture, and color too. Professionally, I have a very technical background with degrees in aviation and electronics so I love math and have the spatial visualization and vector stuff already in my wheelhouse. I've reached the apex and backside of my first career as a pilot and want to move on. I'm going through the fun KhanAcademy Pixar in a Box computer animation courses right now just to try and hone in on what part of computer animation I might even want to focus on if I pursue this as a second career. I was SO excited going through the lessons on effects and patterns and realized that a shading/texture technical person might really be where it all comes together for me. Can any of you who are doing that please provide a little insight into how I might be able to get into that part of the process if getting an art degree is not really on the table? Some of the bigger studios have internships but they are only for the folks in school currently. I saw there are those focused online animation schools but they appear to be for folks who already have the education or the job and want to improve and learn new techniques. Or is an art degree necessary these days and into the IRA I dive with the hope of someone wanting to hire a 50-year-old when I'm done? (disclaimer: you're not responsible for any financial decisions I make) If so, what would be a wise degree for wanting to do the effects/patterning work...graphic design or computer science? I see there are so many young kids doing animation I wonder if I'm actually too old even though they say "you're never too old" in general. Finding something that merges my two great loves of all that math/spatial stuff and my attention to detail artistically is so amazing. Even just looking at that little "Piper" ad on the right here I would be in heaven working on those feathers and grains of sand. I'd appreciate some advice. I know I have no time to waste at this point.