Whoop-de-doo! What does it all mean, Basil?
Procedural Animation is a way of creating complex animation very quickly. The most abundant example of procedural animation is related to music. Audio visualisers are real-time examples of procedural animation.
Audio is broken down into various frequencies. The values of those frequencies are used to drive some form of motion.
The frequency bar graph is a fairly ubiquitous example of this and can be further extended into psychedelic effects such as the 'MilkDrop' visualiser.
We can use similar principles for other uses, such as motion graphics or complex animation that would be too labour intensive to do by hand.
Lets create an visual example using audio to drive some sort of animation.
With the recent release of Lego Batman I've became addicted to Lego! Here I have created a simple animation to demonstrate procedural animation from an audio clip. This setup took around half an hour from scratch. A similar setup created by hand would have taken a few days, whilst also being less flexible.
Using this workflow we can change the audio track to obtain a completely different animation at any point, whereas hand-created animation would require another few days of animating.