The legend: a small step for mankind, but a giant leap for AnRep3D

No, this post is not about AnRep3D becoming a legendary company. It’s about the legend we added to the 3D-graphs. Usually graphs and maps have legends. Yet AnRep3D didn’t have one, until now. Originally the idea was that a fixed set of values would be visualised in the 3D-graph (Revenue, Profit, Equity, Total Assets). Creating examples for this blog, alternatives came up like EBITDA instead of profit – or Liabilities instead of Assets or Equity. This works well, but who will know what the graph is about without a legend?

In the previous post I showed the plans, presenting a screenshot from a manipulated output-file (a 3D graph). Now, not long after we proudly present version 4.1 of the AnRep3D generator! The new generator shows a 3D legend in front of the graph, but a little lower than the ground-level of the “buildings”. This position was chosen carefully. The legend doesn’t distract or block the view at the graph, but at the same time it won’t be missed because the top is visible from the start. The legend created by the generator is slightly different from the “hacked graph” we showed in the previous post. After several trials it became clear that only three labels are needed for the height, width and depth. Of course a part of the height is presented in a different colour (green, red). The best way to clarify is not a separate label, but an addition in the label for height – something like: revenue(profit) or sales/EBITDA or even Renewables[Biofuel]. The latter refers to the series we wrote about the 3D visualisation of the energy-mix in different countries in time.

Talking about labels, the question is where the generator will get them from. To keep the structure of the input-file unchanged (well, almost), the labels were added to the parameter-line – the first line in the input-file. Labels for height, width and depth will be added after the font-size. Of course those labels also have to be separated by commas or semicolons. To make things very clear, one of the well-know graphs already presented on this site, will be repeated here. It’s the graph showing values from the annual reports of GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The difference with the previous version is the legend. Unlike with the “hacked graph” the screenshot can be clicked again, to open thGSK AstraZeneca with legende real 3D graph in the browser.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To manipulate the graph: Clicking the right mouse-button and moving the mouse up and down will zoom the graph in and out. Clicking left and moving the mouse will tilt the graph in different directions (or move the observer’s viewpoint around a fixed graph – it’s relative of course). Double clicking in the graph translates it and moves the centre at the same time. As a result the way the graph tilts will change. Just try it. If you don’t know how to get the normal position back, just refresh the graph.

From now on the free demo-package will be derived from version 4.1 of the generator and create a legend in the graph. The manual has been updated of course and the same applies to the input- and output-files to be found in the package. Additional videos for version 4.1 will be added to the AnRep3D’s Youtube-channel soon, explaining the new parameter-line and the graph itself. Visit our website AnRep3D.com for more information about us and our product.

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Adding a legend to the 3D graphs

When talking about data in the inputfile for AnRep3D, the series to be visualised is usually abbreviated as RPEA: Revenue, Profit, Equity and (Total) Assets. Yet, on several occasions I emphasised the possibility to choose alternative values. In previous posts examples were given with e.g Gross Profit or EBITDA instead of just Profit and some time ago we even presented the energy mix of different countries in time. E.g: Abusing the AnRep3D-generator visualising energy sources II

The resulting graphs are interesting and there is no reason whatsoever to avoid alternative applications, but at the same time I was worried about the documentation. Of course a graph can be distributed with comments, explaining what is shown. At the same time however, those comments are not connected to the graph and therefore the graph itself does not explain which kind of input was used.

This could be solved by a legend in the graph, but for a 3D graph a flat list is not an option. It should point to the right directions. After several months, the absence of such a legend began to annoy me. Remember, I use my own generator and therefore I am not only a supplier, but also a customer, providing me with feedback as much as others do.

Last week I finally decided to experiment with the output-file. I’m not a programmer, but will be able to add functionality to the generator. Before doing so, I had to find out the best options and this was done by manipulating an output file directly. As explained before, the output-file is basically embedded X3D (the successor of VRML – Virtual Reality Modeling (Markup) Language) and I know how to deal with it.

After some experiments I was able to create a nice version with a 3D legend in it. Although the generator still has to be adjusted, an example of an upcoming graph-type is shown below.

Legend in GSK AZ 3D-graph

The legend is not really part of the graph, but hovers at a lower plane, in the front. At the same time a part of the legend is visible. Would it be out of scope, a lot of people wouldn’t notice it. So I chose to put it in a place where a part is visible from the start.

Legend in GSK AZ 3D graph oblique

Legend GSK AZ full

 

During the next couple of weeks I will be working on a new version of the AnRep3D generator, putting a 3D legend in the graph automatically. The three axes and the “roof” will need their own text, which means that the parameter-line will be extended. It also means a new manual, a new demo-package and e.g. new videos. A lot of work and of course it would be nice to get some feedback. Visit our website (anrep3d.com)  for more information or contact us for e.g. a license at (info@anrep3d.com).

Do you want to generate a 3D-graph yourself?  Use our free demo. It is a fully functional generator, only limited to the creation of graphs for one company and one year. Of course there is no legend in it yet. When the new demo is available, I will write another post about the subject.

As explained before: double-click an image to view the 3D-graph in your browser. Double clicking this graph will change the viewpoint. Left-click, hold and drag to tilt or rotate. Right-click, hold and move to zoom the 3D-graph.
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A very technical post

Why a technical post? Well, to be honest because I realised how much we depend on a cloud-service. Let me explain how this happened and then provide a solution.

In the past, the AnRep3D-generator created graphs in the independent language VRML, used for 3D models. VRML is a formally obsolete language, able to present 2D and 3D models. I wrote “formally” because it has a successor called X3D. Yet VRML is still around and X3D as a pure language never became very well known let alone broadly accepted. Since AnRep3D-graphs are 3D models choosing VRML made sense in 2006, but there was also a disadvantage which became more important over the years. VRML can only be read by specific viewers or in a web-browser if a plug-in is installed. The number of viewers available over the year declined and on top of this, a kind of crusade against browser plug-ins started. People neither wanted to install a plug-in, nor did they download a viewer. In the end this meant nobody was looking at the AnRep3D-graphs (and VRBI for that matter). Switching to X3D wouldn’t have solved the issue as it needs a viewer as well and hardly any browser plug-ins are available.

In 2016 we knew we had to work on an alternative, to keep AnRep3D alive. To be able to show 3D models in a browser, HTML5 is the best standard now. Yet HTML5 heavily relies on JavaScript. I don’t like JavaScript at all, but it’s more or less the standard in dynamic webpages and it looked like we had no choice.

Luckily, Germany has always been very active in Virtual Reality and related subjects like VRML. Of course, the research-groups there encountered the same problems as AnRep3D did and the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) created a very smart solution. It offers a cloud-service called X3DOM, able to convert a file with an X3D-like content into a Javascript programme in realtime. This means when our “3D-graphs” (actually an .htm-file with a lot of X3D-code in it) are being viewed, in the background the X3DOM cloudservice is called to translate the code upfront.

When you look at the output-file of the AnRep3D-generator (use our free demo package to create one or simply pick an example availabe in this demo-package) you will see something like this:

AB Inbev SAB Miller AnRep3D output file

The second part within the blue box is the actual graph, more or less in X3D. With some alterations it would be possible to generate pure X3D, to be read by a viewer. The first part however, surrounded by a red line, calls for a translation and as the file already is in the html-format, the translated result can be understood by the browser.

This works so well that I never thought about it, until last May (2018). The X3DOM cloud-service was down during a couple of days for the first time ever and as a result the AnRep3D-graphs didn’t work! I was shocked, especially because I never realised I was using a cloud-service translating the AnRep3D code in real-time! After the weekend https://x3dom.org  was up and running again, but I started to think about the options. It was then that I decided to write this post, to warn for the dependency.

It turned out the converted code can be saved locally to become independent from the cloud-service, but to be honest: I never did until last week. By right-clicking outside the blue part of the page, the source can be downloaded. I saved the example shown abobe. The result looks a little bit different from the original.

AB Inbev SAB Miller AnRep3D X3DOM output file

Apart from this, a folder has been added: AB-Inbev-SAB-Miller_files holding two files: x3dom.css and x3dom.js  The former is a cascading style sheet and the latter holds JavaScript-code. File and folder (with two additional files) together provide the local graph, No need for a connection to the Internet and X3DOM.org. The only difference I noticed is the page being larger. At first, only a blue background was visible, but scrolling down the graph is still there.

Of course we will work on the improvement of the generator and listen to our clients (companies holding a licence for the full generator, that is) to determine our roadmap.

Then a short note on JavaScript:

Despite “Java” being in the name, it has nothing to do with the Java programming language. It’s an example of “mimicry” used as a marketing strategy.

The AnRep3D-generator was written in Java, but any other language would have done. All one needs is the programme – never mind how it was created. The only issue is, the Java-package should be available on your device to be able to run it. Java is available for free at a separate Oracle-website: https://java.com/en/download/ Languages used by Microsoft are preinstalled in Windows, but Java is not.

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Introductory videos, explaining the AnRep3D graphs

Currently we have a lot of posts discussing all kinds of examples of AnRep3D graphs. Most of them hold links to real 3D-graphs, to be shown in the browser. Yet it would be good to have a little more guidance about the structure and meaning of the graphs. That’s why we prepared a couple of introductory videos, explaining the principle of these 3D graphs.

The videos will be found on Youtube, in the AnRep3D channel, but the links are also presented below.

After the introduction we will present some other videos, showing the structure of the input-file, the use of the generator and the “interior” of an AnRep3D graph file.

For more information visit our website: https://AnRep3D.com where the free demo-package can be found as well.

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Ten years of Amazon (with reference Alphabet/Google) Part II

In the previous post I couldn’t tell everything, because the total message would have been too long and therfore confusing. Two things were different:

  • A long period of time (10 years) was taken for Amazon, but for Google (later Alphabet) which served as a reference, only the first and the last year in the series were added.
  • Instead of the usual set Revenue, (net) Profit, Equity and (total) Assets series(abbreviated as RPEA), I decided to take another set of values: Revenue, Profit before taxation, Equiy and (total) Liabilities.

The graph is repeated below. The picture is only a screenshot, but if it’s clicked the full 3D-graph will appear. (it’s HTML5/Javascript with WebGL, so enable both Javascript and WebGL in your browser).

Amazon - ten years

Manipulating the 3D-graph: Double-click the screenshot first.

Clicking the right mouse-button, moving the mouse up and down will zoom the graph in and out. This time you will really need it! Clicking left and moving the mouse will tilt the graph in different directions (or move the observer’s viewpoint around a fixed graph – it’s relative of course). Double clicking in the graph translates it and moves the centre at the same time. As a result the way the graph tilts will change. Just try it. If you don’t know how to get the normal position back, just refresh the graph.

Last time I already warned that the graph isn’t just a simple bar-graph, as all sizes do have a meaning. The bottom-view shows the changing width and depth, representing the equity and total liabilities trhoughout the years. See picture below, to the right.

Ten years Amazon - bottomIt illustrates a couple of things. At the start (2007 – 2014) the equity doesn’t grow as fast as the liabilities, which suggests than Amazon issues less shares than bonds or loans – as the former will be part of the equity, whereas the latter two count for liabilities. To make this very clear, I zoomed in on 2016, where Alphabet is shown together with Amazon. See picture below (In the screenshots I drew a couple of arrows, to provide some guidance on the interpretation of the graph for this position):

Amazon Alphabet 2016

 

For Amazon the equity is rather small, compared to the liabilities. For Alphabet the equity is even larger than the liabilities. Of course the companies are in very diferent industries and we know from the past that “fysical” industries need more capital to generate revenue than the more “service” based ones. Although AWS is about services, Amazon’s 2016 annual report service shows than the product-based revenue is still 70% of the total – the other 30% being service-related.

Amazon and AlphabethIn a similar screenshot however (t0 the right 2014 – 2016), we can see that Amazon nearly doubled its Equity, without really increasing its liabilities!

 

 

 

Another screenshot shows revenue and profit (this time before taxation). Again I added some arrows with explanatory texts.

Amazon Alphabet Revenue Profit

Here we see that the profit increases more than the revenue (in a relative sense) although  it’s still less impressive than Alphabet’s profit. Maybe it shows the impact of the Amazon transforming from a product-based to a service-based company. At the same time we can see there was a profit most of the time. Only 2014 shows a thin red roof indicating a loss.

It might be a good exercise to double click the screenshots and try and manipulate the real 3D-graph in such a way that the image of the screensot is obtained (more or less, because I cropped the screenshots before publishing them). The instructions for manipulation, like zooming, turning and tilting are at the beginning of this post, below the first screenshot!Amazon Input-file

Finally I want to share the numbers I used to generate the 3D-graph. As you will know, the AnRep3D-generator converts a set of numbers into a 3D-graph like the ones shown behind the screenshots. Of course all the values can be found in the annual reports, using the links I gave in the previous post, but it’s good to share the final input-file as well. The input-files also shows the parameter-line, which is an important addition.

Do you want to generate such a 3D-graph yourself?  Use our free demo. It is a fully functional generator, only limited to the creation of graphs for one company and one year. Visit our website anrep3d.com  for more information.

If you want to create more complex graphs, please contact us for a licence (info@anrep3d.com). It’s quite affordable and again: sometimes it can even be free for colleges or universities (including universities of applied sciences).

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Ten years of Amazon – using Alphabet/Google as a reference

Again, I would like to show you the 3D-graph first, but this time several things will be different. So let me start with an explanation. Firstly, the graph is showing Amazon over a period of ten years (2007 – 2016). Looking at the result I was quite surprised about the perspective. The graph is really deep (litterally).

Apart from this, I used another company as a reference for start and end only. It could have been any large company, but Google (2006), later becoming Alphabet (2016) is often referred to when talking  about the new Tech Giants. Only two years would do, so all the other values (2007 – 2015) were put in as zeroes. And then there is another change, since I was tired of showing the same Revenue, (net) Profit, Equity and (total) Assets series – abbreviated as RPEA.

The generator likes all kinds of food and creates nice graphs if the combinations make sense. So why not take Revenue, Profit before taxation, Equiy and (total) Liabilities? In previous posts, I already explained that instead of Profit also gross margin, EBIT or EBIDTA can be used. And Revenue can be replaced by them as well, as long as the second value is a part of it: e.g. EBITDA and net Profit.

Replacing Total Assets with Liabilities however, is a bit odd. We know Equity cannot exceed Total Assets, as it is a part of it (after subtracting the Liabilities). Yet the Equity can be higher than the Liabilities, although I didn’t expect it to happen very often. And then Google/Alphabet turned out to be an example! The “building” is perpendicular to the normal direction! Fortunately (for our graph, that is) Amazon had Liabilities higher than its Equity throughout the years.

Amazon - ten years

Don’t forget how to manipulate the 3D-graph (it’s HTML5/Javascript with WebGL, so enable both Javascript and WebGL in your browser). Double-click the screenshot first.

Clicking the right mouse-button, moving the mouse up and down will zoom the graph in and out. This time you will really need it! Clicking left and moving the mouse will tilt the graph in different directions (or move the observer’s viewpoint around a fixed graph – it’s relative of course). Double clicking in the graph translates it and moves the centre at the same time. As a result the way the graph tilts will change. Just try it. If you don’t know how to get the normal position back, just refresh the graph.

Don’t think the Amazon-series is a simple bar-graph! Height, width and depth all have their own meaning (representing Revenue, Equity and Liabilities). And then green “roof” means a Profit (this time “before taxation”) but a red “roof” shows the extra Costs paid to obtain the Revenue. In other words: it’s a loss.

I would love to tell you more, but let’s keep it for the next post. Please double-click the screenshots to see the actual 3D-graph in your browser. Next time I will tell about the value and explain the structure of these graphs in more detail.

The sources were: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-reportsannual and http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReportArchive/g/NASDAQ_GOOG_2007.pdf  https://abc.xyz/investor/pdf/20161231_alphabet_10K.pdf

Do you want to generate such a 3D-graph yourself?  Use our free demo. It is a fully functional generator, only limited to the creation of graphs for one company and one year. Or visit our website (anrep3d.com)  for more information.

If you want to create more complex graphs, please contact us for a licence for your company (info@anrep3d.com). It’s quite affordable (only one needed per legal entity) and again: sometimes it can even be free for colleges or universities / universities of applied sciences.

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Mergers and Acquisitions: AB Inbev – SAB Miller

Let’s take the same approach as we did last time: first a couple of screenshots of 3D-graph will be shown (double click them to get the actual 3D-graph in your browser). Then some explanation and comments will be given. Of course it can be a bit confusing for first-time visitors. If you don’t understand what you are looking at, please read the text underneath.

Only one comment upfront: the values for 2016 are for SAB Miller and AB Inbev separately. To the right, their summed values created an artificially combined company. In 2017 AB Inbev had incorporated SAB Miller and for this reason the new company is placed to the right, in line with the artificial combination. AB Inbev SAB Miller front AB Inbev SAB Miller

Double-click a screenshot to see the live 3D-graph in your browser.

For manipulation: Clicking the right mouse-button, moving the mouse up and down will zoom the graph in and out.
Clicking left and moving the mouse will tilt the graph in different directions (or move the observer’s viewpoint around a fixed graph – it’s relative of course). Double clicking in the graph translates it and moves the centre at the same time. As a result the way the graph tilts will change. Just try it. If you don’t know how to get the normal position back, just refresh the graph.AB Inbev SAB Miller bottom

AB Inbev SAB Miller rearAlso a warning: SAB Miller had a broken book-year, so it’s not completely right to sum the values for AB Inbev and SAB Miller (as the periods are different, because AB Inbev has a bookyear equal to the calendar year). Yet the difference is only a shift of one quarter.

Now the graph itself. If you double-clicked one of the screenshots, you were able to see the real 3D graph from all angles and distances and we will discuss what could be observed.

The first screenshot offered a front-view and showed that the width of the SAB Miller “building” was much smaller than AB Inbev’s, meaning that the equity of the latter was much higher (in 2016). SABMiller’s building was not as tall as AB Inbev’s, showing its revenue was lower. Yet the thickness of the green roof was more or less the same. This means the absolute value of the profit was about the same, while the relative profit (percentage of the total revenue) was higher, as it has to be compared to a smaller amount of revenue.

The second screenshot mainly shows that SAB Miller’s building is not as deep as AB Inbev’s. This shows a difference in total assets: for AB Inbev the value is probably five times higher. The real 3D graph can be turned and tilted immediately and a screenshot presents only one point of view.

Only the third screenshot shows the ratio of equity to assets. The equity of SAB Miller is about half its total assets in 2016 (rectangle to the top, left). For AB Inbev it’s more like four times. And because the difference between total assets and equity is total liabilties, AB Inbev had a larger gearing than AB Inbev.

In all three screenshots, a third building was present to the right for 2016. It is the artificial combination ofAB Inbev and SAB Miller, obtained by summation of their equities, total assets, revenues and profits. Not realistic of course, but the combined company could not really be expected to be larger. In 2017 the combined company is a fact and is called AB Inbev! But it’s not the same AB Inbev as it was in 2016 and therefore it is presented in the same lane as the combined building in 2016.

Screenshot four is taken from the rear and shows the new AB Inbev in front. It’s not as large as the combined, hypothetical company. Actually it looks a lot like the old AB Inbev, because it was forced to divest some parts. Yet the profit is higher! Of course the graph doesn’t tell why the profit is higher. Maybe it would be better to use the profit before taxes or the EBITDA instead of the net profit (as long as it is done the same way for all the “buildings” in the graph of course).

The main objective of this graph is to present a large number of companies and spot the ones with very good ratios or offer an opportunity to detect anomalies at a glance. After that, some digging in the annual report would be wise. The reports used were downloaded from the AB Inbev-site. The SAB Miller reports are also available at the AB Inbev site.

Do you want to create this kind of graph yourself?  Our free demo is a fully functional generator, only limited to the creation of graphs for one company and one year. Visit our website for more information.

If you want to create complex graphs like these, please contact us for a license at: info@anrep3d.com It’s quite affordable and sometimes even free for colleges or universities (including universities of applied sciences)!

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