Changing macromolecular conformations and complexes are critical features of cellular networks, typified by DNA damage response pathways that are essential to life. These fluctuations enhance the specificity of macromolecular recognition and catalysis, and enable an integrated functioning of pathway components, ensuring efficiency while reducing off pathway reactions. Such dynamic complexes challenge classical detailed structural analyses, so their characterizations demand combining methods that provide detail with those that inform dynamics in solution. Small-angle X-ray scattering, electron microscopy, hydrogen-deuterium exchange and computation are complementing detailed structures from crystallography and NMR to provide comprehensive models for DNA damage searching, specificity, signaling, and repair. Here, we review new approaches and results on DNA damage responses that advance structural biology in the fourth dimension, connecting proteins to pathways.