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Mezzotint is an intaglio process, a variant of engraving. There are two variations of mezzotint: In the dark to light method, the entire surface of the metal plate is roughened with many tiny dots made with a tool like a very fine comb. The artist then forms the image by smoothing the roughened plate. This is a tonal process since different tones can be achieved by smoothing more or less. In the light to dark method the artist creates the image directly with the roughening tool. Mezzotint was the first printing technique to generate tonal variations – this is achieved by smoothing (or roughing) the plate differently.