Three-dimensional x-ray diffraction (3DXRD) allows nondestructive characterization of grains, orientations, and stresses in bulk microstructures and, therefore, enables in situ studies of the structural dynamics during processing. The method is described briefly, and its potential for providing new data valuable for validation of various models of microstructural evolution is discussed. Examples of 3DXRD measurements related to recrystallization and to solid-state phase transformations in metals are described. 3DXRD measurements have led to new modeling activity predicting the evolution of metallic microstructures with much more detail than hitherto possible. Among these modeling activities are three-dimensional (3D) geometric modeling, 3D molecular dynamics modeling, 3D phase-field modeling, two-dimensional (2D) cellular automata, and 2D Monte Carlo simulations.