An intaglio printmaking technique that creates soft, velvety gradations of tone. The term comes from the Italian mezzotinto, meaning “half tint.” In this process, the entire surface of a metal printing plate is uniformly roughened using serrated tools called rockers to create tiny indentations that will hold ink. A tool called a burnisher is used to smooth over areas of the surface not intended to hold ink, creating an image or composition. When damp paper is placed on top of the inked plate and run through a press, the smoother, burnished sections result in light areas in the image, and the unburnished sections produce dark areas.